The epidemic of the new coronavirus reached a new stage globally, with confirmed cases outside China tripling over the past week and governments warning of more infections among people who recently traveled to countries where infection rates are rising.
There were 29,306 cases outside mainland China, versus around 10,000 a week ago. The U.S. tally rose to 554 cases, with 21 deaths.
The world-wide death toll stood at 3,825—the bulk of it in China, especially in the central city of Wuhan, which first reported the pneumonia-causing virus in December. Italy has the second-highest number of deaths at 366, and the total number of confirmed infections in the Mediterranean country climbed to 7,375 over the weekend, almost catching up with South Korea’s 7,478 cases.
Stock markets around the world plunged again on Monday, though a large trigger for the selloff was the prospect of an energy glut that could make a global recession more likely during the epidemic. Oil prices fell more than 25%, and the 10-year Treasury note yield dipped below 0.4%, a historic low.
In China, health authorities reported 40 new cases on the mainland in the past day, bringing its total number of confirmed infections to 80,735, up about 1% from a week ago. More than two-thirds of the sickened people have recovered.
While China also has by far the highest death toll from the respiratory disease, at 3,119 fatalities, its officials have said lockdowns of cities, strict quarantine measures, and widespread workplace and school closures have helped limit infections across the country.
A few weeks ago, China was reporting thousands of new cases daily. In late January the government locked down much of Hubei province, where Wuhan is, to stem the spread of the virus, and hasn’t lifted those restrictions.
In recent days, major cities including Shanghai and Beijing have seen people returning to malls, shops reopening and other business activities gradually resuming. On Monday, Shanghai government officials said some major tourist spots and sports facilities had reopened after being closed for more than a month.
Walt Disney Co.’s Shanghai Disney Resort said it would partially resume operations as a first step in reopening in phases, while the main Shanghai Disneyland theme park would remain closed until further notice.
Some facilities in Disneytown—the resort’s shopping, dining and entertainment complex—as well as its hotel and nearby park grounds began operating under limited capacity and reduced business hours. The resort said guests would have to undergo temperature checks and wear masks during their visits, and would be reminded to “maintain respectful social distances.”
Governments are preparing for a new wave of coronavirus cases among people who have traveled to countries other than China. Health authorities in Hong Kong, which has 114 confirmed cases, said several people who tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19 in recent days had been on a tour to India in February. India has reported 39 coronavirus infections.
The country added 165 cases, the lowest daily new numbers since Feb. 25, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
China said it has a total of 67 imported cases, including people who recently traveled to Italy and Iran.
In Japan, a new rule kicked in Monday that effectively bans tourists from China, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea until the end of March, as the country seeks to prevent more new imported infections. Japan reported 488 cases on Monday, up 33 from a day earlier.