South Korea to launch mass coronavirus testing, U.S. pledges $1 billion for vaccine

South Korea to launch mass coronavirus testing, U.S. pledges $1 billion for vaccine

South Korea will be testing more than 200,000 members of a church at the center of the rise in coronavirus cases, as countries increase their effort to stop the pandemic of the virus that started in China and spreading fast across Europe and the Middle East.

Above 80,000 people in China have been infected since the outbreak started, in an illegal wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

China’s death toll was 2,663 by the end of Monday, up 71 a day before. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the epidemic in China increased between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and the spread is gradually reducing.

The fast-spreading outbreaks in Iran, South Korea and Italy, and first cases in other Middle East countries, have fed worries of a pandemic, or global spread of the virus.

The head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, Raina MacIntyre, said “Although we are close to a pandemic, but hope still remains that the epidemics in Iran, Italy, South Korea, etc. can be controlled.”

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Apart from China, South Korea has the highest coronavirus cases and reported its 9th death and 144 new cases, for a total of 977. President Moon Jae-in revealed that the situation was “very serious”.

Italy has become a new front line in Europe with 220 cases reported on Monday, up from just three on Friday. The death rate in Italy is 7.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries have said they may stop joint training due to the fast spreading virus, in one of the first concrete signs of its fallout on global U.S. military activities.

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