South Korea reports 1st virus death; 2.5M urged to stay home

The NIID report was "very reassuring", said Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease specialist from Kobe University Hospital who had been one of the harshest critics of the quarantine.

The virus has killed more than 2,000 people - majority in China's Hubei province, the center of the outbreak. And in China, where the virus has killed more than 2,100 people, officials changed their methodology for reporting infections, creating new doubt about data they have been citing as evidence of success in fighting its spread.

Patient 31 is believed to have attended at least four services since she fell ill and refused to be tested on the grounds she had not recently travelled overseas.

The death of a South Korean man in his 60s marks the first coronavirus-related fatality in the country.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement that 31 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed nationwide.

Health authorities are tracing and testing 1,001 followers at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, since most of the newly confirmed patients attended the church's services on February 9 and 16.

An epidemiological survey is also under way to determine whether or not the 31st patient is linked to two confirmed cases at the hospital in Cheongdo, south of Daegu, the KCDC said, adding the patient visited Cheongdo earlier this month.

The man was among 13 people at a hospital near Daegu who tested positive for the virus.

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Of the new cases, 30 are in Daegu and one was confirmed in Seoul.

DO NOT ENTER- reads the note on the entrance of the Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony in Daegu, South Korea.

A South Korean city of 2.5million people is on lock-down after the number cases in southeastern Daegu spike by 35 today. A KCDC official told Reuters the government was not considering that measure.

2 Japanese passengers of Diamond Princess cruise ship have died.

A second group of about 600 Japanese and foreign passengers from the Diamond Princess was set to disembark on Thursday, after the first group was released from quarantine a day earlier.

Hundreds of people who left the ship on Wednesday were placed in quarantine again in their home countries, with Australia and Hong Kong putting their returned citizens in supervised isolation for another two weeks. Two people who were recently taken off the ship have died after contracting COVID-19. Like the Americans who recently arrived in the USA, those passengers face new quarantines back home.

Jahanpur said all patients were Iranian and the person in the central city of Arak was a doctor from Qom, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported.

The streets of the nation's fourth-largest city have been all but abandoned, after what authorities described as a "super-spreading event" of the coronavirus at the church.

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