Latin America’s first coronavirus case was confirmed in Brazil. The infected man had traveled to Italy, where the virus is spreading.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 10:08 AM EST
It comes as Brazil is in the midst of Carnival, a hugely popular festival that draws large crowds into close quarters for raucous street celebrations.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Coronavirus pushes across Europe and Middle East, while U.S. prepares for outbreak.
- Brazil confirms coronavirus infection, the first in Latin America.
- As new cases soar in South Korea, a U.S. soldier there tests positive.
- European officials struggle to present a unified response.
- President Trump plans to hold a news conference with health officials.
Coronavirus pushes across Europe and Middle East, while U.S. prepares for outbreak.
New cases of the coronavirus popping up across Europe. Dozens of new infections in Iran stoking fears about the uncontrolled spread of the virus in the Middle East. Global markets continuing to slide. Health authorities in the United States warning that it was a matter of when, not if, the virus would invade American shores. A toxic political climate in Washington complicating the public health challenge.
That worrying drumbeat frayed nerves across the world on Wednesday even as the pace of the outbreak seemed to be slowing in China.
For the first time, more new cases have been reported outside China than inside, according to the World Health Organization. The number of new cases reported in China on Tuesday was 411; in the rest of the world, the number was 427. The total number of cases globally has now reached 80,980 and nearly 3,000 have died.
In the European Union, which prides itself on its open borders among member nations, new cases were recorded in Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece and Spain. Most were tied to Italy, where the authorities have been struggling to contain an outbreak that has infected at least 325 people, most of them in the north near Milan.
Continue reading the main story
Officials from the bloc warned that more needed to be done to prepare for further outbreaks and to have a more coordinated response.
Three hotels — in Austria, in France and in the Canary Islands of Spain — were locked down this week after guests tested positive for the virus or were suspected of having it. The steps to limit contagion differed from place to place, but large group gatherings were often the first things to be canceled in towns and villages where the virus had been detected.
Unlock more free articles.
Create an account or log in
In Asia, the Chinese authorities cautioned that the falling rate of infection might be only a temporary reprieve, while South Korean officials were still scrambling to contain the largest outbreak of the virus outside China. The U.S. military confirmed that one soldier stationed in South Korea had tested positive for the virus.
As the American health authorities braced for an outbreak of the virus in the United States, the Trump administration came under criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for its contradictory statements on the severity of the crisis, a lack of transparency and seemingly lackadaisical preparations.
Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak
The virus has infected more than 81,800 people in China and 39 other countries.
Continue reading the main story
Brazil confirms coronavirus infection, the first in Latin America.
The Albert Einstein Hospital, where Brazil’s first coronavirus case was detected, in Sao Paulo.
The Albert Einstein Hospital, where Brazil’s first coronavirus case was detected, in Sao Paulo.Credit…Sebastiao Moreira/EPA, via Shutterstock
Brazil’s health ministry said on Wednesday that a 61-year-old man who recently traveled to São Paulo from Italy had contracted the coronavirus.
The first known case in Latin America, it comes as Brazil is in the midst of Carnival, a hugely popular festival that draws large crowds into close quarters for raucous street celebrations.
Officials were scrambling to track down other passengers on the flight the man took to Brazil and to find others who had come into contact with him in recent days.
The patient, who lives in São Paulo, had recently traveled for work to northern Italy, where an outbreak has infected at least 325 people. He sought medical help after experiencing a fever, cough and sore throat, according to health officials.
Brazil’s health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, told the G1 news site that officials were hopeful that the virus would not spread briskly in Brazil, given the warmer time of year.
“The virus behaves differently in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere,” he said. “Brazil is a country of younger people, and we’re in summertime. This is a period that is not conducive for a respiratory virus.”
Continue reading the main story
As new cases soar in South Korea, a U.S. soldier there tests positive.
An ambulance entering Camp Carroll in Chilgok, South Korea, on Wednesday, where an American soldier tested positive for the virus.
An ambulance entering Camp Carroll in Chilgok, South Korea, on Wednesday, where an American soldier tested positive for the virus.Credit…Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
As the number of new coronavirus infections in South Korea soared on Wednesday, with 284 new cases reported, the U.S. military ordered all people who came into contact with an American soldier who tested positive for the virus to isolate themselves in their homes.
The 23-year-old soldier, one of nearly 30,000 troops based in the country, is stationed at Camp Carrol is in Waegwan, 12 miles from Daegu, the city at the center of the country’s outbreak.
South Korea now has 1,261 cases, the largest outbreak outside China. More than half are in Daegu.
In response to the growing crisis, the U.S. military elevated its risk level to “high” on Monday, advising all troops to “limit non-mission-essential” meetings and “off-installation travel.”
At gates of American military bases across South Korea, assessment stations have been set up, with soldiers lining up to go through temperature checks and screening questionnaires. The military also posted an online map showing places in the country where cases have been documented.
The Coronavirus Outbreak
What do you need to know? Start here.
Updated Feb. 25, 2020
What is a Coronavirus?
It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
How contagious is the virus?
According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
Where has the virus spread?
The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
How worried should I be?
New outbreaks in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are renewing fears of a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week that Americans should brace for the likelihood that the virus will spread to the United States.
Who is working to contain the virus?
The World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world is not ready for a major outbreak.
What if I’m traveling?
The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all non-essential travel to South Korea and China.
How do I keep myself and others safe?
Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
On Tuesday, the United States and South Korea said they would consider scaling back joint military exercise after an outbreak infected at least 13 South Korean soldiers.
The U.S. military in Japan sent out a notice on Wednesday telling all personnel there to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea.
Continue reading the main story
Col. Edward Ballanco, the Army garrison commander for the affected Camp Carroll, said the military was not yet evacuating anyone from the base and that it was running a grocery delivery services for those quarantined. Restaurants remained open, but only for takeout.
European officials struggle to present a unified response.
A health worker taking notes at a clinic in Zagreb, Croatia, on Tuesday. The country is one of several in Europe to have registered at least one coronavirus case.
A health worker taking notes at a clinic in Zagreb, Croatia, on Tuesday. The country is one of several in Europe to have registered at least one coronavirus case.Credit…Darko Bandic/Associated Press
The European Union needs to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic, the bloc’s top official for communicable diseases warned on Wednesday, as Italy struggled to control an outbreak in the north of the country.
“Our current assessment is that we will likely see a similar situation in other countries in Europe, and that the picture may vary from country to country,” said the official, Andrea Ammon, who is director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
“We also need to consider the need to prepare for other scenarios — for example, large clusters elsewhere in Europe,” she added, speaking at a news conference in Rome.
The bloc of 27 countries, interconnected through trade and travel, has been on high alert since the coronavirus took hold in northern Italy over the weekend. The illness has already spread to other countries on the Continent, with patients in Austria, Croatia, Spain and elsewhere.
The European Commission, the E.U. administrative branch, has been trying to get health care officials in the 27 member states to share information about the virus. Despite urgent meetings in Brussels of health ministers from the bloc, officials say there is scant information on what each country plans or is able to do should a larger-scale outbreak occur.