WHO Increases Global Coronavirus Risk to Highest Level

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There are now over 85,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll over 2,900 people.

The WHO has previously classified the coronavirus as a "pandemic" and declared a public health emergency of global concern.

The novel coronavirus can cause a respiratory illness, called COVID-19, that can present very differently from person to person.

But US health officials on Friday reported two more cases of the new coronavirus transmitted to people who did not travel overseas or come in contact with anyone known to be ill, indicating the disease was spreading in the country.

Forty-seven more people died of the deadly coronavirus, rasing the death toll in the country to 2,835 while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 79,251, Chinese health officials said on Saturday. The death toll is 43 now.

South Korea has the largest number of infections outside of China and reported its biggest daily increase of cases on Saturday (February 29), with the total number of infections surpassing 3,000.

"The virus is here, present at some level, but we still don't know to what degree", said Sara Cody, director of public health for California's Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley where tech giants like Apple and Google are based.

Jahanpour, however, disputed the report as being politically motivated, conflating other causes of deaths with the coronavirus and relying on sources without access to Iran's coronavirus testing labs. "You can hear the ambulances coming and going, and maybe they're going to sick people who have nothing to do with the coronavirus but it worries you just the same", said Davide Benelli from his home in Casalpusterlengo, a town of around 15,000 in Italy's quarantined "red zone" where the disease broke out a week ago. So far the disease has killed 2,800 people worldwide.

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Pakatan Harapan leaders with Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the presidential council meeting in Kuala Lumpur tonight. One member of Bersatu's ruling council said it still backed Mahathir, but later retracted the statement.

Also on Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced it would bar citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council from Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina over concerns about the virus' spread.

The man's wife also caught the virus, but is in stable condition, authorities said.

Saudi Arabia is now the only state in the region to have not reported any coronavirus cases.

While China reported 47 more deaths on Saturday, it recorded 427 infections - fewer new cases than South Korea - following unprecedented quarantine efforts locking down tens of millions of people in the worst-hit cities.

He said the two people in the earlier reported cases were doing well and one is about to be discharged from hospital.

The virus has proliferated around the globe over the past week, emerging on every continent except Antarctica, prompting many governments and businesses to try to stop people from travelling or gathering in crowded places.

A half-marathon race scheduled for Sunday in Paris has been cancelled, along with the final day of an agricultural symposium.

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