February 24 coronavirus news

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9:43 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Taiwan confirms 2 new cases of novel coronavirus, bringing total to 28

A father and son were confirmed to have coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the number of cases in Taiwan to 28.

The father is in his 80s, while the son is in his 50s, the island's Central Epidemic Command Center said. Neither has any recent travel history, but authorities believe they may have got the virus from one of their relatives, who visited mainland China.

Asia cases rising: South Korea and Japan are facing two of the largest outbreaks of the novel coronavirus outside of mainland China.

The number of cases in South Korea is now more than 600, with a large number of infections linked to a branch of a religious group in the south of the country.

In Japan, 149 people across the country have been diagnosed with the virus in addition to the more than 690 former passengers of the Diamond Princess with the virus.

There are now four deaths from the virus in Japan and six in South Korea.

9:34 p.m. ET, February 23, 2020

Here's the latest on the coronavirus outbreak

A Chinese man wears a protective mask as he rides his bike on February 23, 2020 in Beijing, China.
A Chinese man wears a protective mask as he rides his bike on February 23, 2020 in Beijing, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Fears are mounting in the Middle East and Europe, after a spike in coronavirus cases there this weekend. Last week it seemed like numbers were stabilizing in China; now, authorities worldwide are racing to contain the virus' spread, as some countries report their first cases.

Here's the latest on the outbreak:

  • The numbers: The novel coronavirus has infected more than 78,000 people worldwide and killed 2,465. 23 of those deaths occurred outside mainland China. Inside China, the vast majority of cases and deaths remain concentrated in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
  • Religious group in South Korea: There are 602 cases and 6 deaths in South Korea. More than half the total cases are linked to a branch of a controversial religious group -- members of the group congregate in a way that puts them in close contact with one another for long periods of time. Around 9,300 members are being put into self-isolation and will be tested.
  • Cases spike in Italy: Italy's confirmed cases surged from three on Friday morning to 152 on Sunday -- the biggest outbreak outside of Asia. Three people have died in Italy. Authorities have announced sweeping closures, quarantines, and emergency measures.
  • Spread in the Middle East: Iran has confirmed 43 cases of the virus, including eight deaths. With fears rising, Turkey and Afghanistan have shut their borders with Iran. Lebanon and Israel have also reported their first cases.