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100 new Covid-19 cases in South Korea, largest outbreak outside China



  South Korea on Friday reported 100 new cases of Covid-19, in the largest known coronavirus outbreak so far outside China.

The number of infected patients roughly doubled to 204, after 52 cases were reported overnight and a further 48 cases on Friday, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Most infections were in the city of Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province, but there were also cases in the capital Seoul, the central south-west province of Chungcheong and on Jeju Island.

South Korean President Moon Jae In spoke of a serious situation, his office said in a statement on Friday.

Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun promised strong and swift measures to prevent the virus from spreading further, including designating the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo also in North Gyeongsang Province  as special care zones, according to news agency Yonhap.

Chung said the government had so far focused on curbing infections coming in from outside the country. Now, it will prioritise preventing the virus from spreading locally, Yonhap reported.

Governments around the world have imposed travel bans and restrictions to avoid importing the new coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Many countries have also turned to measures aimed at preventing the independent spread of the virus on their soil, such as quarantining citizens who have been to the affected region in China.

Seoul’s city government moved to ban rallies and close down church services of the Shincheonji Christian sect as part of measures to curb the Covid-19 spread, Yonhap reported.

Of the recent cases, 85 were linked to the church, according to the KCDC.

Experts say the recent spread of the virus could be linked to a worshiper who was unwell but attended a service anyway.

South Korea also saw its first death from the new coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed deaths outside mainland China to 11 across seven countries and territories.

China on Friday reported 889 new infections and 118 deaths over a 24-hour interval.

The total number of confirmed cases so far across the country has reached 75,465, with 2,236 deaths, according to the National Health Commission.

Beijing announced it has fired nearly a dozen prison and justice department officials across three provinces over the emergence of Covid-19 infections in prisons, state media reported.

Shandong, Zhejiang and Hubei provinces, the latter of which is the epicentre of the pandemic, reported a total of 447 infections in prisons, according to the state-run tabloid Global Times.

A day earlier WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva that confirmed cases were declining, without specifying whether this downward trend is linked to China having recently changed the tallying method.

In Japan, 450 more passengers are due to leave the Diamond Princess cruise ship on Friday after weeks in quarantine, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

The ship and its 3,700 passengers were quarantined in a Japanese port for two weeks as a precaution.

Passengers who have tested negative for the coronavirus were allowed to leave the Diamond Princess and more than 700 have already left the vessel.

A flight returning a group of passengers from the Diamond Princess to Hong Kong was delayed on Friday after the group failed to get clearance from Japanese authorities, according to broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong. Some 65 of Hong Kong’s 350 passengers will reportedly have to stay behind for treatment for the virus.

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said on Friday that a charter flight has been sent to Tokyo to retrieve 19 Taiwanese nationals leaving the Diamond Princess.

Five other Taiwanese passengers infected by the new coronavirus are still hospitalized in Japan. Taiwan, as of Friday, had 26 confirmed cases on its soil.

In Italy, three more cases of new coronavirus were reported on Friday in Lombardy, the northern region that is home to Milan.

A 38-year-old man is in critical condition in hospital, and his wife and a close friend have also caught the virus, Lombardy’s Health Commissioner Giulio Gallera said. This brings Italy’s total to six.

Meanwhile, 55 Italians evacuated from Wuhan in early February were being released from quarantine in an army compound in Rome.

More than 30 Italians due to be repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship are expected to be quarantined in the same facilities in the coming days.

A flight repatriating 15 Germans from Wuhan was due to land in Stuttgart midday on Friday after a delay, the German Red Cross said.

The authorities believe that the travellers are healthy.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Isaac Aregbesola

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Sheji Halima: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]