Home WORLD NEWS Coronavirus outbreak worsens as Brazil and Greece confirm first cases

Coronavirus outbreak worsens as Brazil and Greece confirm first cases

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The first case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in South America as the outbreak continues to spread around the world.

Health authorities in Brazil announced on Wednesday that a man had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Sao Paulo, meaning that the deadly infection has now reached every continent besides Antarctica.

No further details about the patient have been released, but Brazilian nationals were flown back from Wuhan – the epicentre of the virus in China – on a repatriation flight earlier this month.

The Lombardy region, which includes Milan, has been hit by coronavirus
Image:Italy’s Lombardy region, which includes Milan, has been hit badly by coronavirus
Infection numbers in real time

Infection numbers in real time

The news came as the coronavirus crisis deepened in Europe, with Italy confirming its twelfth death since a dramatic surge in the number of diagnoses there began last week.

Greece has also reported its first case and France the first death of one of its own nationals, with a 60-year-old man confirmed to have died in Paris overnight.

He was the second coronavirus fatality in the country, after a Chinese national from Hubei province died last month.

The Greece case was a woman who had recently travelled to northern Italy.

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People with face masks sit outside a hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece
Image:People with face masks sit outside a hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece
Revellers wear masks to protect themselves from the COVID-19 illness as they attend the Nice carnival on the french riviera city of Nice, on February 25, 2020
Image:Revellers wear masks at the Nice carnival in France
How the coronavirus could affect your holidays - and what you should do

How the coronavirus could affect your holidays – and what you should do

In other developments:

According to experts at Johns Hopkins, who are tracking the outbreak from the US, there are now 81,191 cases worldwide and 2,768 deaths.

The figures were updated at 12.33pm UK time on Wednesday.

Hundreds of buses in South Korean capital Seoul were fumigated on Wednesday (February 26), amid rising coronavirus cases across the country.

Buses disinfected in Seoul
How to avoid catching COVID-19

How to avoid catching COVID-19

The spike in cases in Europe has prompted EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides to urge all member states to inform the bloc about its preparedness plans for the virus.

She said a consistent approach to tackling the outbreak would be important to containing its spread on the continent, however she warned against panic.

But World Health Organisation director Tedros Adhanom has admitted that the “sudden increase in cases” in two northern regions in Italy was “deeply concerning”, as were the surges in Iran and South Korea.

Many businesses in parts of northern Italy have shuttered their doors due to coronavirus
Image:Many businesses in parts of northern Italy have shuttered their doors due to coronavirus
Tourists wear protective masks in Venice after the city's carnival was cancelled due to COVID-19
Image:Tourists wear protective masks in Venice after the city’s carnival was cancelled due to COVID-19

In Italy at least 322 people have been infected – and the UK Foreign Office has begun advising against all but essential travel to the affected Lombardy and Veneto regions.

South Korea reported 115 new cases on Wednesday, taking its total to 1,261.

Iran has now confirmed 139 cases and 19 deaths.

The head of Iran's counter-coronavirus task force has tested positive for the virus himself, authorities announced

Iranian minister with COVID-19 sweats on stage

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Japan also confirmed its third coronavirus death on Wednesday – a man in his 80s in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for sports and cultural events to be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks in the battle to stem the virus, amid mounting concerns the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be cancelled.

Japan has 178 cases of the infection, separate from the 691 reported on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Dozens of Britons who spent two weeks isolated on board were brought back to the UK over the weekend, and will spend another two weeks in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.

Four passengers among the 30 Britons and two Irish citizens who flew back later tested positive.

TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 02: People wearing masks wait to cross a road  in the Shibuya district on February 02, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Japan reported 20 cases of Wuhan coronavirus infections as the number of those who have died from the virus, known as 2019-nCoV, in China climbed to over 300 and cases have been reported in other countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and several others.  (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)
Image:People wearing masks in the Shibuya district of Tokyo
People wearing surgical masks walk past a screen showing Nikkei index outside a brokerage in Tokyo
Image:Japan has 170 confirmed cases

There have not yet been any new cases confirmed in the UK this week, but a number of schools up and down the country have closed or sent pupils home after they returned from ski trips in Italy.

Some businesses are also taking precautionary measures, with Chevron closing its Canary Wharf office in London to reduce employees’ risk of exposure.

Companies worldwide are warning of financial hits because of the outbreak, as global stock market values continue to decline sharply as investors digest its implications.

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