In a week that has seen Italy’s death toll rise to 107, the first death in the UK, and three states in the US declare emergencies, fears are spreading globally as the Covid-19 virus outbreak continues to spread. Italy has announced plans to close all schools and colleges for 10 days, as it was reported that more than 3,000 people have been diagnosed. 92,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide by authorities, with more than 80,000 in China and more than 3,000 people dying globally.
The United Kingdom has announced that 115 people have now been diagnosed with the virus, with a woman in her 70s, suffering from an underlying health condition, becoming the first to die from the virus in the UK. The first UK citizen to die from coronavirus passed away last week, after being infected on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan. Six aboard the Diamond Princess ship have died after an estimated 705 people out of 3,711 passengers were diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has claimed that all who take sick days from work with Covid-19 will be eligible for sick pay from day one.
According to the EU and industry officials, Europe is experiencing delays in supplies of medicines and face masks due to disruptions caused by the outbreak. The UK’s chief medical advisor, Prof Chris Whitty, has said that the second phase of the country’s health officials is now in action, as the “delay” phase measures will be ramped up to slow the spread of the virus. He also told MPs that it was now “highly likely” some people being infected in the UK have no connection to overseas cases.
In the United States, California, Washington, and Florida have declared a state of emergency, as the US death toll has risen to 11. A 71 year-old-man in California, who had underlying health conditions, has been the most recent reported death, after having been on a cruise ship, officials have said. It has now been reported that at least 150 patients in the US have been diagnosed with the virus across 16 states. 10 of the 11 deaths have been in Washington State.
The latest from the World Health Organization has been a call for all nations to, “pull out all the stops” to fight the virus. Speaking at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “this epidemic can be pushed back but only with a coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government. We’re calling on every country to act with speed, scale and clear-minded determination”. He proceeded to say that officials from the organization are “deeply concerned” with the increasing number of countries reporting cases and, in particular, those that have weaker health-care systems.
As of March 3rd, the mortality rate of Covid-19 coronavirus is estimated to be 3.4%, as announced by the WHO. So far, the international community is pulling together to help fight the virus and slow down its spreading. However, with the number of infections on the rise, and the death tolls increasing, more action is required to put a stop to the virus. Only time will tell how the fight continues, and how much further the international community will need to work together to halt the spread.