Coronavirus updates: Senior Iranian health official tests positive as pandemic fears grow

Coronavirus updates: Senior Iranian health official tests positive as pandemic fears grow

25 Feb    Finance News

• More than 77,600 confirmed cases in China, death toll reaches 2,663

• Iran’s Deputy Health Minister tests positive for virus

• WHO: Coronavirus not a pandemic yet

• White House seeks $2.5 billion for coronavirus

• Italy hardest hit in Europe with 283 cases

President Donald Trump defends $2.5B coronavirus request

President Donald Trump said at a business forum in New Delhi on Tuesday that the urgent $2.5 billion plan he sent to lawmakers will prepare the U.S. in case of an outbreak.

Trump also said at the forum that the money will help other nations that “really aren’t equipped to do it”. — AP

Senior Iranian official tests positive

Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a tweet posted by his adviser Ali Vahabzadeh.

Harirchi held a joint press conference on Monday with the government spokesman Ali Rabiee. — Amin Khodadadi

Italy hardest hit in Europe with 283 cases

Italian authorities have confirmed a total number of 283 cases nationwide, up from the 229 cases on Monday.

Seven people have died and one person has recovered, according to Italy’s civil protection agency.

Lombardy is the most affected region with 212 cases, up from 172 on Monday, followed by Veneto with 38 cases, up from 33 on Monday, the agency said. — Claudio Lavanga and Michele Novaga

Airline diverts flight from Tehran

A Turkish Airlines flight traveling from Tehran to Istanbul has been diverted to Ankara at the Turkish Health Ministry’s request because of suspicions a passenger on board has coronavirus, an aviation source said.

Turkish Airlines is suspending flights to all regions in Iran, apart from Tehran, until March 10, and all flights to mainland China until Feb. 29, the company said on its website. — Aziz Akyavas

11 dead, 977 cases in South Korea

South Korean officials have confirmed 11 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 977 infections, up from the 8 deaths and 833 cases confirmed on Monday.

South Korea’s Korean Air also confirmed a crew member had contracted the virus. The U.S. CDC has recommended travelers avoid all non-essential travel to South Korea.

The U.S. and South Koran military are considering scaling back command post training due to heightened concerns about the coronavirus, the defense ministers of both countries said during talks in Washington on Monday. — Reuters and Stella Kim

Apple reopens 29 of its 42 stores in China

Apple has reopened 29 of its 42 stores in China, after they were closed because of problems in production and demand due to the outbreak, the company said on its website.

The opening hours for most stores will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (9 p.m. to 5.a.m ET). Some stores will open for less than eight hours even though a normal work day is usually 12 hours, the company said. — Salina Lee

Too early to talk about cancelling Olympics, Japan says

Japan’s health minister said on Tuesday it was still too early to talk about cancelling the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which start on July 24, due to the virus and its spread in Japan.

But Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the IOC, said there is a three-month window to decide the fate of the event. — Arata Yamamoto and The Associated Press

Death toll in mainland China passes 2,600

China’s health officials said Tuesday the number of deaths from novel coronavirus in mainland China had reached 2,663. The number of dead stood at 2,592 a day earlier.

There was an increase of 71 deaths, almost all of them in Hubei province, the center of the outbreak.

More than 500 new cases have also been reported as the total number of confirmed cases across the country reached more than 77,600. — Phil Helsel and Salina Lee

WHO: Coronavirus not a pandemic yet

The coronavirus epidemic in China is not yet a pandemic but has the potential to become one if countries don’t work together to slow its spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

A team of experts with the WHO has concluded its mission in China, reporting that the epidemic there reached its peak between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and that the number of cases have since been steadily declining.

However, “the sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing. — Erika Edwards and Jane Weaver

White House seeks $2.5 billion for coronavirus

The White House is asking Congress for $2.5 billion to respond to the coronavirus, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the request inadequate.

The administration’s supplemental funding plan was designed “to accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities and to procure much-needed equipment and supplies,” said Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Rachel Semmel.

Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement that the administration’s request is “is long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.” — Phil Helsel

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