By AFP BEIJING, CHINA
The US and Australia reported their first fatalities over the weekend, while infections nearly doubled in the past 48 hours in Italy
The number of deaths globally in the new coronavirus outbreak passed 3,000 on Monday, as China reported more 42 deaths.
The new fatalities were all in the virus epicentre Hubei province, the National Health Commission said, bringing the overall toll in mainland China to 2,912. Health officials also reported the lowest daily tally of fresh infections since late January, with 202 new cases.
In China, the number of reported new cases has gradually been declining, and there were only six confirmed new infections outside Hubei. The virus emerged late last year in Hubei in central China, but has now spread to more than 60 countries around the world.
The United States and Australia reported their first fatalities over the weekend, while infections nearly doubled in the past 48 hours in Italy, Europe’s hardest-hit country.
The World Health Organization said Sunday that the virus appears to particularly hit those over the age of 60 and people already weakened by other illness.
The agency noted that most people with the COVID-19 illness only experience mild symptoms, while around 14 per cent suffer severe disease like pneumonia and five percent become critically ill. It said the mortality rate in the outbreak appears to be between 2 and 5 per cent.
22 deaths in South Korea
South Korea reported nearly 500 new coronavirus cases Monday, sending the largest national total in the world outside China past 4,000. Four more people had died, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, taking the toll to 22.
The figures are expected to rise further as authorities carry out checks on more than 260,000 people associated with the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. A 61-year-old female member developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in Daegu — the country’s fourth-largest city with a population of 2.5 million and the centre of the outbreak — before being diagnosed.
Of the 476 new cases announced Monday — taking the total to 4,212 — more than 90% were in Daegu and the neighbouring province of North Gyeongsang, the KCDC said.