Thousands of people have been filmed queuing up to buy face masks in the city at the center of South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak. A long line of people snaked out the doors of a supermarket in the city of Daegu on Monday as people tried to protect themselves against the spread of the disease amid fears of a global pandemic. South Korea now has the largest number of confirmed cases outside of mainland China after infections spiked at the weekend, standing at 830 by Monday morning. Eight people have also died from the disease in the Asian country.
Thousands stood in line for face masks in South Korea – something the American public would likely never do – but that too, may change if this coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen.
The astonishing scenes outside the supermarket were captured by South Korean newspaper Maeil Shinmun. More than 140 of South Korea’s new cases were in and near Daegu, the city of 2.5 million people where most of the country’s infections have occurred. Five of the deaths were linked to a hospital in Cheongdo, near Daegu, where a slew of infections were confirmed among patients in a psychiatric ward.
He said that health officials plan to test all of the city’s residents exhibiting cold-like symptoms, which he said would be about 28,000 people. Health workers are also screening some 9,000 followers of the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, where a woman in her 60s attended two services before testing positive for the virus. Of the country’s 161 new cases, 129 were related to the church. Officials are also investigating a possible link between churchgoers and the spike in infections at a hospital in nearby Cheongdo. Worldwide, cases have now topped 80,000 with more than 2,600 deaths as experts warned the globe is on the brink of a pandemic.
Pulitzer Prize winner author, Laurie Garrett, of The Coming Plague warns the world is at a precarious cross-roads with COVID-19.
A pandemic occurs when the same disease threatens different parts of the globe simultaneously. Until this weekend, the spread of coronavirus had been largely isolated to mainland China, with most foreign cases being linked to travelers from the country. But a wave of infections in northern Italy – which has been placed on lock-down – and in Iran, where 50 deaths were reported Monday, suggested the disease was spreading freely elsewhere. Several countries reported cases connected to travel to Iran. Kuwait confirmed its first cases on Monday in three people who had traveled from Iran, while Bahrain and Iraq reported their first cases, also linked to Iran. The United Arab Emirates said new cases there included Iranian tourists. –Daily Mail