Saudi Arabia reports first coronavirus case

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tunisia reported their first confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, while the death toll in Iran rose to 66 – the highest outside China – as the outbreak continues to spread throughout the Middle East.

The Czech Republic, Scotland, and the Dominican Republic also confirmed their first cases. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority nation, also announced its first victim.

More than 89,000 people across 58 countries are now infected, while the death toll globally has exceeded 3,000.

Monday, March 2
19:30 GMT – Gernman minister rebuffs Merkel’s attempt to shake hands
Awkward moment in Germany as interior minister rebuffed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s attempt to shake hands with him on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 150.

When Merkel reached out to greet Horst Seehofer at a meeting on migration in Berlin, he smiled and kept both his hands to himself.

19:00 GMT – Senegal confirms coronavirus case
Senegal became the second country in sub-Saharan Africa to confirm a coronavirus case.

Health Minister Diouf Sarr said a French man who lives in Senegal visited France in mid-February, contracting the virus before returning to the West African country.

The patient, according to the minister, is now in quarantine in the capital, Dakar.

15:20 GMT – Italian coronavirus deaths rise to 52
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy jumped by 18 over the past 24 hours to 52, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The accumulative number of cases in the country, which has been hardest hit by the virus in Europe, totalled 2036, up from 1,694 on Sunday.

The head of the agency said of those originally infected, 149 people had recovered.

The contagion came to light 10 days ago and is focused mainly on a handful of hotspots in the north of Italy, with isolated cases reported in many other regions.

16:40 GMT – Saudi Arabia announces first coronavirus case
Saudi Arabia’s health ministry announced its first coronavirus case.

The victim travelled from Iran to the Gulf kingdom through Bahrain, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

A test confirmed the man was infected with the virus.

Samples were taken from those in contact with the person, and results were expected soon, the health ministry said.

16:15 GMT – Number of cases jumps to seven in Qatar
Four new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Qatar, state news agency (QNA) reported on Monday, taking the total to seven.

Two Qatari citizens and two domestic workers who accompanied them to Iran were diagnosed with the virus, QNA quoted the health ministry as saying.

They were among a group of citizens who were evacuated by the government on a private plane from Iran on February 27, the ministry added.

The victims did not have any contact with the community since their arrival. The three earlier coronavirus patients were in stable condition and recovering, it said.\

15:30 GMT – Tunisia confirms first coronavirus case
In North Africa, Tunisia has confirmed its first case of coronavirus.

Abdelatif el-Maki, the health minister, said the patient is a Tunisian man, 40, who returned from Italy last week.

Tunisia is the second country in North Africa to announce a confirmed case after Algeria.

15:20 GMT – Jordan reports first case of coronavirus
Jordan announced its first case of coronavirus, the latest country in the Middle East to be hit by the outbreak.

The kingdom’s health minister said the infected person arrived back in Jordan from Italy two weeks ago.

“A medical specialised team is checking now the family of the infected person, and sterilising their house, and also checking whether they are infected or not, and putting those not infected in house quarantine for at least 14 days, and transferring the infected cases to the hospital,” Saad Jaber said.

15:05 GMT – Nigeria quarantines dozens amid coronavirus fears
In Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, 58 people who came into contact with an Italian infected with the virus have been quarantined, health officials said.

On Friday, Abuja confirmed the first case of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa after the patient was diagnosed in the economic hub, Lagos – a city of 20 million people.

The Italian had arrived from Milan on a business trip a week ago and travelled to a company in neighbouring Ogun state before being diagnosed.

Nigeria is viewed by many as highly vulnerable to viral spread given its weak health system and high population density.

14:20 GMT – UK coronavirus cases jump to 40
There are four more confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, health officials say, taking the total to 40.

The newly infected people had recently travelled to Italy, according to Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer of England.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country needs to be prepared for the spread of the disease.

14:10 GMT – Virus outbreak to hit global economy: WTO chief
The coronavirus outbreak will have a “substantial” impact on the global economy, according to the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“The effects on the global economy are … likely to be substantial and will start to show up in the trade data in the weeks to come,” Roberto Azevedo said on Monday.

Also on Monday, the European Central Bank (ECB) called off a joint event with the European Commission that was to take place on Tuesday.

“Several cancellations by conference participants” forced the ECB to cancel the event as the region is hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

13:40 GMT – France reports two more deaths from coronavirus
The death toll from coronavirus in France has jumped to four following the death of two people in the country’s north, Le Parisien newspaper reported, citing the mayor of Compiegne.

12:05 GMT – Indian fishermen stranded on Iranian island seek help
More than 400 Indian fishermen stranded on the Iranian island of Kish are calling for the Indian government to airlift them home.

The fishermen, who sent out an SOS video, are reportedly running out of food, fuel supplies and fear for their health as they do not have protective masks in coronavirus-hit Iran, reported Indian TV channel NDTV.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s minister of external affairs, tweeted that he is currently collaborating with the Iranian authorities for their return.

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