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Schools shut, travel curbed as world scrambles to fight coronavirus

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 27, 2020 - Duration: 02:19s

Schools shut, travel curbed as world scrambles to fight coronavirus

Governments battling coronavirus epidemics from Iran to Australia shut schools, canceled big events and stocked up on medical supplies on Thursday in a race to contain the outbreak’s rapid global spread.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

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Schools shut, travel curbed as world scrambles to fight coronavirus

The race to contain coronavirus is reaching a new level of urgency.

From Iran to Australia schools are being shut and big events canceled.

This week the number of new infections around the world surpassed those inside China for the first time.

The World Health Organization is saying the crisis has reached what they call a ''decisive point.'' (SOUNDBITE) (English) WHO DIRECTOR GENERAL, TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, SAYING: "Our message continues to be that this virus has pandemic potential, and WHO is providing the tools to help every country to prepare accordingly (...) This is not a time for fear, this is a time for taking action now to prevent infections and save lives now." The coronavirus has mainly battered China, causing over 78,500 cases and 2,700 deaths.

But by Thursday afternoon, it had spread to another 44 countries with over 3,000 cases and over 50 deaths reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited a Paris hospital, where a 60-year-old man became the second person in the country to die from the coronavirus.

Macron told doctors there that an epidemic was on its way.

His counterpart in Australia, Scott Morrison, said much the same earlier in the day.

From there, Macron traveled to neighboring Italy, where over 500 cases have come to light, leaving tourist hotspots deserted and 50,000 people in the Lombardy region effectively quarantined at home.

Analysts expect the outbreak to shunt Italy's fragile economy into its fourth recession in 12 years.

Global markets have dropped for six straight days, wiping out more than $3.6 trillion in value.

But a bright spot for some: 130 guests at the locked-down Canary Islands hotel have now been cleared to leave, after none of the guests showed symptoms of the virus.

While that's a relief for many, The WHO warned richer countries not to assume they wouldn't be hit by the coronavirus...and said that kind of attitude would be a quote ''fatal mistake.''

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