Coronavirus: Fears of global pandemic as virus spreads rapidly

New Delhi (NVI): South Korea today confirmed 161 new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as the total number climbed to 763, according to Yonhap news agency.

Two more people have died in the country due to the infection, bringing the total number of deaths to 7.

As new cases are reported around the world, the virus outbreak has led to rising fears that it could become a pandemic.

Yesterday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in put the country on highest possible alert in its fight against coronavirus.

Around 7,700 troops have been quarantined after 11 military members were infected.

North Korea has quarantined 380 foreigners in a bid to stop the coronavirus from breaking out. The foreigners are mostly diplomats stationed in the capital Pyongyang. Although, there have not been any reported cases of COVID-19 in North Korea.

Iran has also confirmed 43 cases of the virus and eight deaths till now, the highest toll outside mainland China.

The virus, which emerged in China, has spread to at least 29 countries.

Meanwhile, Kuwait and Bahrain reported their first cases of the virus, while Turkey, Pakistan and Armenia closed their borders with Iran, as Tehran reported more coronavirus infections and deaths. Neighbouring Afghanistan also introduced travel restrictions, according to media reports.

At least 152 cases and three deaths were also reported in Italy, prompting emergency measures in Europe.

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged, healthy non-residents who are not under quarantine – and have not shown any symptoms – will be allowed to leave.

The city has been on lockdown since January 23, with authorities cutting off transport links in and out of the city.

More than 2,590 people have died from the virus in China, with some 77,150 cases confirmed cases reported, the National Health Commission announced.