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Coronavirus Spreading Outside China

The number of new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus reported in China on Tuesday was 411. In the rest of the world, the number was 427, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This marks the first time that more new cases of the coronavirus have been reported outside China than inside.

The total number of cases globally is now approaching 81,000. Nearly 3,000 have died, according to WHO statistics.

In Europe, new cases were recorded in Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, and Spain. Authorities said many of these likely spread from Italy, which is struggling to contain more than 300 cases.

In the United States, officials said on Tuesday that the coronavirus was almost certain to spread in the country in the future. The officials advised businesses, schools, and hospitals to begin to prepare.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing, the New York Times reports.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad,” Dr. Messonnier said.

After federal officials made their announcement, San Francisco declared a local emergency, in order to help the city combat the virus if it spreads there. 

As of Tuesday, 25 February, the United States had 57 cases, 40 of them related to a cruise ship infected after it docked in Japan. Those cases are being isolated in hospitals.

So far, there has been no evidence of sustained transmission of the virus in any U.S. state. But U.S. health officials have said that, given the outbreaks in more than 20 countries, the spread of the virus in the United States is virtually inevitable.

“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus,” U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

In the Middle East, dozens of new infections in Iran raised concerns about the virus becoming a problem throughout the Middle East. Cases in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman have all been traced to Iran.

Click here for more security resources on the coronavirus, compiled from Security Management and various external health organizations.