- Italy, which now has the largest number of cases in Europe (270) reported an additional four deaths from the virus on Monday 24 February, bringing the total in the country up to seven. Twenty-three people have recovered from the virus.
- In South Korea, which has the largest number of confirmed cases outside of China (now at 977), over 50 per cent of the total cases have been reported in Daegu (at the Sincheon Daegu Church) and neighbouring county Cheongdo (at the Cheongdo Daenam Hospital). Eleven deaths have now been reported, with 22 recoveries.
- Over in China, where the number of total cases sits at 77,663, with a total of 2,664 deaths (and 27,533 recovered), the government has now imposed a ban on the consumption of wild animals.
- Iran has reported the highest number deaths outside of China, now at 16, with a total of 61 cases.
- A fourth person onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship has now died – a passenger in his 80s died at a medical facility onboard the ship.
Elsewhere, according to local reports, hundreds of people staying at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in Tenerife in the Canary Islands have been placed in quarantine after a man staying at the resort tested positive for the virus. Many of the tourists who were staying at the same hotel were also prevented from leaving the island due to the huge sandstorm, which caused flights to be grounded until weather improved.
Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres insisted that the patient was quarantined and in the care of health workers. “The result from the first test carried out in the Canaries is positive. Tomorrow new tests will take place in Madrid. The patient has been quarantined,” he said.
Although the World Health Organization on Monday insisted it was too early to label the outbreak as a pandemic, it urged countries to be in a ‘phase of preparedness’.
“The key message that should give all countries hope, courage and confidence is that this virus can be contained, indeed there are many countries that have done exactly that,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Using the word ‘pandemic’ now does not fit the facts but may certainly cause fear.”