In the last 48 hours, eight countries have reported their first confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), even as other nations—terrified of the escalating outbreak—have shut down borders and limited travel.
On Tuesday (Feb. 25), Croatia, Iraq, and Oman all confirmed their first cases. Bahrain, Israel, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Lebanon confirmed COVID-19 cases a day before.
The reinvigorated spread now brings the global infection count to 38 countries and territories across North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
Even as China, the epicentre of the epidemic, works tirelessly to control its spread, the world’s focus on the novel coronavirus has shifted to Iran, Italy and South Korea – which have emerged as the newest hotspots of the contagion.
As of today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the global tally of COVID-19 infected stands at 80,331 with 2,695 people already killed by the outbreak.
Arguably taking Europe’s most stringent preventative measures against the new coronavirus, Italy is a major cause for concern for health officials as the country became home to the biggest outbreak outside Asia.
Clusters of the illness continued to balloon outside mainland China, fuelling apprehension across the globe that was reflected in sagging financial markets.
The crisis continues to push into areas poorly prepared to deal with an outbreak, however, with some of the world’s richest nations struggling as COVID-19 proliferates, the virus is bringing a sense of urgency for local officials determined to contain it but often unsure how.
The biggest question and the ensuing uncertainty remains about how to effectively limit the epidemic.