The death toll from coronavirus rose to 2,236 in China on Friday as the virus cases soared in South Korea and Chinese prisons while two more died in Iran and Ukraine faced riots over quarantining people evacuated from China.
China on Friday raised the death toll to 2,236 — most of them in Hubei, where the virus was first detected. More than 75,000 have now been infected in China and over 1,100 abroad.
After a drop in new cases in China for the past few days, the number rose again on Friday, with dozens of infections in two hospitals in Beijing and more than 500 in prisons.
In South Korea, the number of cases almost doubled, with more than 200 people infected, most of them linked to a Christian sect in the south.
The leap in cases made South Korea the country most affected after China by COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
A cruise ship called Diamond Princess, quarantined off Japan, remains the location with the most cases outside China with more than 630 infections.
Two Australians evacuated from the ship test positive for coronavirus on their return home, despite being cleared in Japan.
Elsewhere, Iran reported two more deaths among 13 new cases, bringing the total number of fatalities to four.
Earlier cases had already prompted neighbouring Iraq to ban travel to and from Iran.
Ukraine’s health minister volunteers to spend two weeks in quarantine with 72 nationals who have been confined after being evacuated from China.
On Thursday, protesters blocked roads and hurled stones at vehicles carrying people evacuated from China. Hundreds of police in armoured vehicles dispersed them.
In France, a third plane carrying nationals evacuated from China arrived with 28 French and 36 citizens of other European Union countries. They were placed in quarantine.
The World Health Organization called on the international community to ‘hit hard’ against the coronavirus.
‘If we don’t hit hard now using the window of opportunity we might be faced with a serious problem,’ WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
As researchers around the world work on ways of treating the novel coronavirus, an official says China could start clinical trials for a potential vaccine around late April.
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