California Tells 7,600 People To Self-Quarantine Over Concern Of Coronavirus Spread

"This tells us that there has to be a much larger number of people infected in Iran and we're literally just detecting the tip of the iceberg".

"In China's struggle against coronavirus we deeply felt the friendship of the government and nation of Iran", the ambassador said.

Officals retroactively revised upwards previously reported data for two days in the last week - the latest in a string of amendments to the figures officially reported at the epicentre.

"I think people are missing the importance of a case like the Canadian traveler to Iran", he said, referring to a case reported by health officials in British Columbia on Thursday.

And amid rising suspicions of undetected transmission in Iran plus reports of surges in South Korea and Japan, as well as new local transmission in Italy, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said the window of opportunity for containing the outbreak has narrowed.

The World Health Organization warned nations could face a serious problem if they fail to "hit hard now" against the virus, which has infected more than 75,000 in China and more than 1,100 overseas.

In the United States, 35 people have tested positive for the virus, including 18 who returned home from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan and one new case reported Friday in California. They said the ship will leave the port after loading shipment.

The number of infections has increased by 142 to 346, officials said on Saturday, with most of the cases linked to the city of Daegu and surrounding region two hours south of Seoul.

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New cases in South Korea jumped to 73 by Thursday, tripling the number of cases in the country.

Italy has locked down ten towns and asked over 50,000 people to stay home amid a flurry of cases in the area - a move with echoes of China's lockdown of entire cities in Hubei province at the centre of the outbreak.

With 621 confirmed cases, the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan since February 3 has the most coronavirus patients of any place outside the Chinese mainland.

Of the 142 new cases in South Korea, 131 are from Daegu and nearby regions, which have emerged as the latest front in the widening global fight against COVID-19.

Several changes in Hubei's counting method has further complicated efforts to track the spread of the illness.

Not including China, there have been 1,151 reported infections and eight fatalities reported in 26 countries around the world. The country also reported its second death from the virus.

Shandong Provincial Department of Justice Director Xie Weijun (解維俊) and seven other officials were sacked, officials said. Of the most recent cases, 85 are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus cluster, according to Kyodo News, which cited the country's health ministry.

  • Sonia Alvarado