Churches were closed in South Korea on March 1, with many holding online services instead, as authorities fought to rein in public gatherings as 586 new coronavirus infections took the tally to 3,736 cases. This is reported by Reuters.
That came a day after the biggest daily jump of 813 cases in South Korea’s battle with the largest virus outbreak outside China, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said. The death toll rose to 20, up from 17 the day before.
In Seoul, the capital, about a dozen worshippers were turned away from the Yoido Full Gospel Church, which put a sermon for its 560,000 followers on YouTube, filmed with a small choir instead of all 200 members and 60-strong orchestra.
Authorities have warned of a “critical moment” in the battle against the virus, urging people to refrain from attending religious services and political events and stay home this weekend.
For the first time in its 236-year history, South Korea’s Catholic church decided to halt masses at more than 1,700 locations nationwide. Buddhist temples also called off events, while major Christian churches held online services.
March 1, Australia and Thailand officially confirmed the first deaths from the coronavirus CoVID-2019, as Reuters reported.
In Australia, the former passenger of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who was transported from Japan and quarantined, died. He died in a hospital in Perth. The man was 78 years old.
His widow is also infected with the virus. Her condition is stable. According to the latest government data, the number of viral infections in Australia has grown to 26.
"We monitor and respond to the information that we receive every day. We are not insured, but we are prepared as much as possible for any country, and we can handle it," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote.
In Thailand, a 35-year-old man who also had dengue fever died of coronavirus. This was announced by Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control.
The deceased man worked in retail and often contacted tourists. Doctors and authorities suggest that he was infected with the virus.