Coronavirus outbreak 'getting bigger': All the latest updates

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Hopes that the coronavirus would be contained to China have vanished as the first case in sub-Saharan Africa was announced in Nigeria, while number of infections continue to grow in Europe pounding stock markets amid fears of a global recession.

On Friday, the US State Department raised its alert level for Italy, warning Americans to reconsider travel due to the outbreak.

“Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but sustained community spread has been reported in Italy,” the department added.

Italy has reported 650 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths – the most in Europe from the epidemic that originated in China, which is by far the most affected country.


In China – the epicentre of the deadly disease – the National Health Commission reported on Friday at least 44 new coronavirus deaths, bringing to 2,788 the number of fatalities nationwide.

Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000 worldwide

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, February 29

23:19 GMT (Friday) – US urges citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Italy

The US on Friday warned against non-essential travel to Italy, a top destination for US tourists, over the growing coronavirus epidemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommends that travellers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy. There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas,” it said in a statement.

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The State Department raised its travel advice a notch for Italy to “reconsider travel.”

23:04 GMT (Friday) – US postpones summit with ASEAN leaders

The US will postpone a meeting with leaders of Southeast Asian countries it planned to host on March 14, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, two US officials familiar with the matter said on Friday.

US President Donald Trump had invited leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian nations to meet in Las Vegas after he did not attend a summit with the group in Bangkok in November.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

19:50 GMT (Friday) – Two South Africans test positive in Japan  

Two South Africans on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a state-run medical institute.

“We confirm that these citizens are currently being treated in Japan and are in good care,” said a statement by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus from our bureau in Kuala Lumpur – Ted Regencia

Click here to read updates on Friday, February 28.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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