Source : CNN
Hong Kong (CNN)Public health officials warned Wednesday that the spread of the novel coronavirus is inching closer toward meeting the definition of a global pandemic, as the number of cases outside mainland China continues to grow, including in South Korea where a US soldier has tested positive for the virus.
Brazil announced its first case of coronavirus today, marking the first time the virus has been reported in South America. The outbreak has now spread to six of the world’s seven continents. It has not yet reached Antarctica.
Iran and Italy are also grappling with major outbreaks within their borders that have turned deadly, and a top official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the United States could see the virus spread within its borders.
“Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
South Korea currently has the largest outbreak outside mainland China, with more than 1,200 people infected — including the first US soldier — and at least 12 dead. Iran’s health ministry has confirmed at least 139 cases and 19 fatalities. In Italy, at least 374 people have been infected and 12 have been killed, while Algeria, Croatia, mainland Spain and Switzerland all announced their first confirmed cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far held off on classifying the coronavirus’ spread as a global pandemic, but the outbreak appears to be getting closer to meeting the global health body’s definition of one.