South Korea seeks coronavirus murder charges, over 3,000 dead worldwide
SEOUL/BEIJING: South Korea sought murder charges against leaders of a secretive church at the heart of its ballooning coronavirus outbreak on Monday as the global death toll rose above 3,000 and the Chinese province at the epicentre reported a fall in new cases.
World stock markets regained some calm as hopes for global interest rate cuts to soften the economic blow of the virus steadied nerves after last week’s worst plunge since the 2008 financial crisis.
The global death toll was up to 3,044, according to a Reuters tally.
In the largest outbreak outside China, South Korea has had 26 deaths and reported another 599 infections on Monday, taking its tally to 4,335 following Saturday’s biggest daily jump.
Of the new cases in South Korea, 377 were from the city of Daegu, home to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, to which most of South Korea’s cases have been traced after some members visited China’s Wuhan city where the disease emerged.
The Seoul government asked prosecutors to launch a murder investigation into leaders of the church, a movement that reveres founder Lee Man-hee. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said that if Lee and other heads of the church had cooperated, preventive measures could have stopped fatalities.
‘OUTBREAKS ARE CURBED’
Wuhan, at the centre of the epidemic in Hubei province, closed the first of 16 specially built hospitals, hurriedly put up to treat people with the virus, after it discharged its last recovered patients, state broadcaster CCTV said on Monday.
News of the closure coincided with a steep fall in new cases in Hubei, but China remained on alert for people returning home with the virus from other countries.
“The rapid rising trend of virus cases in Wuhan has been controlled,” Mi Feng, a spokesman for China’s National Health Commission, told a briefing.
“Outbreaks in Hubei outside of Wuhan are curbed and provinces outside of Hubei are showing a positive trend.”
The virus broke out in Wuhan late last year and has since infected more than 86,500 people, most in China.
Outside China, it has in recent days spread rapidly, now to 53 countries, with more than 6,500 cases and more than 100 deaths.
Italy considers bringing doctors out of retirement as coronavirus cases jump to 1,694
The coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy has so overwhelmed the public health system that officials are taking extraordinary measures to care for the sick.
The region of Lombardy has been the epicenter of Italys outbreak, registering the first positive test of the northern cluster and now counting 984 of Italy’s 1,694 cases.
Most alarmingly, 10% of Lombardy’s doctors and nurses are out of commission, because they tested positive for the virus and are in quarantine, said the region’s top health official, Giulio Gallera.
Lombardy’s regional government has asked the central government to reactivate retired doctors and nurses and get them back on the payroll. In addition, nursing students who were due to take their final exams next month are now expected to graduate in the coming days so they can be immediately put to work, Gallera said.
“We’ll take anyone: old, young. We need personnel, especially qualified doctors,” Gallera told reporters.
Coronavirus kills member of council advising Iran’s supreme leader
A member of Iran’s Expediency Council died Monday from coronavirus, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 76, lost his life from the virus at a hospital in the capital Tehran, IRNA said.
Mirmohammadi was a former member of parliament for Qom province. In 2018, he was appointed a member of the country’s Expediency Council, which advises Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. – Agencies