This is the astonishing moment a coronavirus patient is dragged back into hospital by panicked health workers while being interviewed on live TV – as the first cases hit Holland and Nigeria.
In the clip, the Iranian citizen thanked the people of Georgia and paid tribute to the doctors treating him, before health workers dragged him back into the Tbilisi hospital.
The journalists present were expecting to hear from a medical official but were surprised when the patient turned up.
In the footage that went viral the man, whose name is not known, said: I am so happy. Thank you very (much), people of Georgia. Thank you very (much), thank you so very (much). Hospital, doctors in hospital Georgia. This hospital is perfect and professional.’
Later, the individual was transported to the Georgian town of Abastumani where patients are being quarantined.
It comes as the escalating worldwide crisis has left countries scrambling to contain the spread of the deadly virus, with the first cases now confirmed in the Netherlands and in Nigeria.
More than 82,000 people across the world have caught the virus and 2,800 have died – Antarctica is the only continent yet to record a case. Sixteen cases have been confirmed on British soil but it has yet to spread between humans in the UK.
Further afield, Germany and France have warned of the ‘start of an epidemic’, as Europe scrambles to contain a coronavirus outbreak spreading from Italy across the continent.
The journalists present were expecting to hear from a medical official but were surprised when the patient turned up
The man, whose name is not known, praised doctors at the hospital before health workers come out and get him
A health worker tells reporters the man is not well and he is moved back into the hospital
Later, the individual was transported to the Georgian town of Abastumani where patients are being quarantined
Denmark, Estonia, Switzerland, Romania, North Macedonia, Greece, Norway, Georgia, Netherlands and Nigeria have all recorded their first cases in the last two days.
Meanwhile the coronavirus crisis has continued to cause ‘carnage’ on the markets, with the London Stock Exchange plummeting 8 per cent in a week to a new 13-month low and shares in Wall Street tanking by 10 per cent compared with their record high over the week.
In other worldwide developments in the coronavirus outbreak:
- Pope Francis cancelled a planned Mass in Rome with other clergy after suffering a ‘slight illness’ – it comes a day after he kissed heads and touched faces as he met with crowds in St Peter’s Square
- Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health is reporting its first case of coronavirus. The case was confirmed on Thursday in Lagos state.
- The Japanese prime minister ordered the closure of all schools in the country for a month in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus
- Iran’s vice president and spokeswoman for 1979 hostage-takers, Masoumeh Ebtekar, has caught the deadly infection, state media has revealed
- A ‘frightened’ British mother trapped in a coronavirus-stricken Tenerife hotel said guests are ignoring strict quarantine rules to contain the killer virus
- Insurers were slammed by doctors for demanding sick notes for travellers trying to get a refund and cancel trips to countries with coronavirus outbreaks
- Staff at Southampton University NHS Trust have been asked to shave their beards to allow masks to fit more securely in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus
- The head of the World Health Organisation told governments to ‘act aggressively’ to contain the global coronavirus crisis
- The London Stock Exchange dropped to a new 13-month low and traders warned that the coronavirus could lead to ‘anaemic global growth’
- Public health officials were retracing the steps of a Northern California woman on Thursday believed to be the first person in the U.S. to contract the highly contagious coronavirus without traveling internationally or being in close contact with anyone who had it.
With new infections reported around the world now surpassing those in mainland China, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said even rich nations should prepare.
‘No country should assume it won’t get cases, that would be a fatal mistake, quite literally,’ Tedros said, pointing to Italy, where 17 people have died in Europe’s worst outbreak.
In addition to stockpiling medical supplies, governments ordered schools shut and canceled big gatherings, including sports events, to try to halt spread of the flu-like disease known as COVID-19 that emerged in central China more than two months ago from an illegal wildlife market.
The death rate appears to be around 2 percent, although it could be lower if there are many mild, undiagnosed cases, experts say.
By comparison, seasonal influenza has a case fatality rate of around 0.1%, said Anthony Fauci, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ahead of a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, who has been put in charge of coordinating the U.S. response.
‘So therefore you have somewhat of a serious potential for morbidity and mortality,’ he said, adding, ‘We’re dealing with a serious virus.’
There is particular concern over a case in Japan in which a woman tested positive for the virus for a second time. Second positive tests have also been reported in China and could imply contracting the disease does not confer immunity. Scientists warned that much remains unknown about this new virus.
The head of the WHO’s emergency program, Dr. Mike Ryan, said discussions were being held with organizers about the fate of the 2020 Olympics, scheduled for July in Tokyo, although no decision was expected soon.
Their cancellation or relocation would be a massive blow for Japan, which said it was closing its entire school system for the next month in a bid to prevent spread of the virus.
Iran is the hardest-hit nation in the Mideast, where Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour on Thursday reported 26 deaths out of 245 confirmed cases of the illness.
The republic’s death toll is the highest outside of China, where the outbreak began in December and has seen more than 82,000 cases worldwide and over 2,800 deaths.
Experts are concerned Iran may be under-reporting cases and deaths, given the illness’ rapid spread from Iran across the Persian Gulf.
CORONAVIRUS: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
What is this virus?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild lung infections such as the common cold.
But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Can the Wuhan coronavirus kill?
Yes – almost 3,000 people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.
What are the symptoms?
The infection which the virus causes has been named COVID-19. Some people who catch it may not have any symptoms at all, or only very mild ones like a sore throat or a headache.
Others may suffer from a fever, cough or trouble breathing.
And a small proportion of patients will go on to develop severe infection which can damage the lungs or cause pneumonia, a life-threatening condition which causes swelling and fluid build-up in the lungs.
How is it detected?
The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China and countries around the world have used this to create lab tests, which must be carried out to confirm an infection.
Delays to these tests, to test results and to people getting to hospitals in China, mean the number of confirmed cases is expected to be just a fraction of the true scale of the outbreak.
How did it start and spread?
The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Cases have since been identified around China and are known to have spread from person to person.
What are countries doing to prevent the spread?
Countries all over the world have banned foreign travellers from crossing their borders if they have been to China within the past two weeks. Many airlines have cancelled or drastically reduced flights to and from mainland China.
Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?
Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
SCROLL DOWN OR CLICK HERE TO SEE MAILONLINE’S FULL Q&A ON THE CORONAVIRUS
On Thursday, as fears of the spread of coronavirus gripped the world, Saudi Arabia banned foreign pilgrims from entering the kingdom to visit Islam’s holiest sites, potentially disrupting the plans of millions of faithful ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and as the annual hajj pilgrimage looms.
The decision showed the growing worry across the Mideast about the virus as Iran confirmed that infected cases in the country spiked by over 100, to 254 now.
A total of 26 people have died so far, it said. That pushes the region’s overall cases to above 350.
It appeared Saudi officials worried about the risk of pilgrims spreading the virus as they had in Iran.
The virus’ epicenter in the Islamic Republic is the holy Shiite city of Qom, where the faithful in reverence reach out to kiss and touch a famous shrine.
That shrine and others have remained open, despite Iran’s civilian government calling for them to be closed.
Authorities said Friday prayers in Tehran and other cities would be canceled, according to semiofficial Iranian news agencies.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday praised medical staffers, calling their work ‘very invaluable’.
But the virus has struck the official in charge of Iran’s response to the outbreak, as well as a reformist lawmaker.
On Thursday, a hard-line cleric from Qom who also serves in parliament posted a video online acknowledging he had been infected.
The head of the parliamentary security and foreign relations commission, Mojtaba Zonnour, said he had also tested positive for the virus.
‘Yes, my corona test is positive, too and I am in quarantine,’ Zonnouri said in the video. ‘God willing, our nation will overcome in fight against corona.’
Pope Francis has been forced to cancel a planned Mass in Rome with other clergy after suffering a ‘slight illness’.
The Vatican said the 83-year-old pontiff had a ‘slight indisposition’ that meant he did not attend an event at the St John Lateran basilica in Rome on Thursday morning.
His illness comes a day after he kissed heads and touched faces as he met with crowds in St Peter’s Square, saying he had solidarity with those suffering from coronavirus.
Italy is currently in the grips of a coronavirus outbreak that has seen towns in the north placed on lockdown and travellers from the region spread the infection to previously unaffected areas of Europe.
The capital, Rome, had three cases, but all three infected patients were cured, officials said.
Alarm: A fleet of emergency workers and a halted train at Idar-Oberstein station in Germany yesterday after a passenger showed possible virus symptoms
Empty shelves: Supermarkets were stripped of supplies in Romania (pictured) as panic-buying shoppers rushed to prepare for a coronavirus quarantine
In Tenerife, a staff member wearing a mask cleans the swimming pool of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace today after guests were told they are facing a two-week lockdown
Denmark, Switzerland, Romania, North Macedonia and the city of Athens have all confirmed their first virus cases in the last two days – all of them linked to Italy.
Supermarket shelves were left empty in Italy and Romania as panicking shoppers rushed to prepare for a quarantine.
In Germany, hundreds of people were quarantined in their homes today amid fears that a critically sick local patient could have infected countless others.
The man had attended carnival parties, visited the Netherlands and gone for an unrelated hospital check-up in the days before he was taken seriously ill.
A soldier in the German air force has also tested positive after having contact with the man, whose wife works at a kindergarten and also has the virus.
Separately, a train was stopped for around two hours in Germany on Wednesday with a fleet of emergency workers descending on a remote station after a passenger returning from Italy showed possible virus symptoms on board.
A shopper wearing a protective face mask walks through a street market in Milan this morning
A German primary school in Gangelt near the Dutch border is closed today (pictured) after a woman who works at a local kindergarten was infected along with her husband
French president Emmanuel Macron visits medical staff at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris today, where he said the country was facing an ‘epidemic’
The country’s health minister Jens Spahn warned yesterday that ‘we are at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic in Germany’.
CORONAVIRUS ‘CARNAGE’: STOCKS PLUMMET OVER VIRUS FEARS
The FTSE 100 index of the UK’s biggest listed companies has now fallen more than 7 per cent in the past four days, and fell 2.6 per cent in early trading on Thursday
Wall Street stock markets have tanked 2 per cent already today while Europe’s stock markets including in London slumped over three percent, as traders panic as the number of coronavirus cases worldwide exceeded 81,000.
At midday trading, the S&P 500 index was 10 percent down from last week’s record high, representing the worst week since October 2008.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 index of major British companies shed £62billion at close, tanking over 3 percent to 6,752.68 points and marking a new 13-month low.
It earlier plummeted over 4 percent before last-minute trading late afternoon.
The past four days, the UK index has shed £152billion in value amid fears of the continued and increased spread of the coronavirus.
In Europe, the Paris CAC 40 shed 4.3 percent to 5,443.11, and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slid 4.1 percent to 12,254.94 compared with yesterday’s closing levels.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell warned of ‘more coronavirus carnage on the markets’ before noting ‘this is one of the worst weeks in recent memory’.
Mr Campbell added: ‘Terrifyingly, it’s not over yet. Friday is a tricky proposition.’
The benchmark index has now dropped 8 per cent in four days amid concerns over more turmoil, with traders warning the virus could lead to ‘anaemic global growth’.
French president Emmanuel Macron echoed those fears today, declaring that ‘we are facing an epidemic’.
‘We are facing a crisis, an epidemic that is coming,’ Macron said while visiting staff at the La Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris today.
‘We know that we’re only at the beginning… we’re going to try with all our caretakers to make the right decisions.
‘You had a case here… I know this affected many of your teams,’ he said, after a 60-year-old teacher who had not travelled to an outbreak hotspot died at the hospital on Tuesday.
Spahn, the German health minister, said today that the country had plans in place for a pandemic but warned that ‘we don’t practise them often enough in this country’.
In another sign of the widespread concern today, the Pope cancelled an event at a Rome basilica after feeling sick.
The 83-year-old pontiff was seen coughing and blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass yesterday when he shook hands with the faithful and voiced his sympathy with virus patients.
There was no word from the Vatican about the nature of his illness, except to say that he was staying in his residence because of a ‘slight indisposition’.
Denmark confirmed its first case of the virus early today, saying a man who returned from a skiing trip in northern Italy had tested positive.
‘The man who came back from a skiing trip with his wife and son on February 24 has been suffering since then from a cough and a temperature,’ Denmark’s public health agency said.
‘The man tested positive, but the results of his wife and son are negative,’ it said.
The man is relatively well and has returned to his home, where he remains in isolation with his family, officials say.
The virus has also spread from Italy to Switzerland, where a man in his 70s from the Italian-speaking region of Ticino has been taken to hospital.
The man was infected near Milan where he attended an event on February 15, federal health office chief Pascal Strupler told reporters.
‘His state of health is good,’ the health office said in a statement, adding that the risk of contagion for Switzerland as a whole remained only ‘moderate’.
Shoppers wearing masks buy goods at a supermarket today in Codogno, one of the Italian towns which has been locked down to contain the outbreak
Protection: Passengers on Milan’s metro wear masks in the carriage yesterday with northern Italy at the centre of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak
Italian football fans wear masks during a Champions League match in France last night, where French side Lyon played Turin team Juventus
Pope Francis has cancelled an event at the Vatican due to a ‘slight illness’, a day after he was pictured coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass
Earlier in the day Francis had met with crowds in St Peter’s Square where he touched hands and kissed faces, despite warnings over coronavirus
But it also said that, because of the proximity to Italy, ‘the probability is growing that other cases will be diagnosed’.
The government said on Monday that it had stepped up testing on patients with flu-like symptoms and was working to raise awareness at all border points.
Romania reported its first case on Wednesday – a man who was in contact with an Italian who visited the country last week.
ILLNESS FORCES THE POPE TO CANCEL AN EVENT IN ROME… JUST A DAY AFTER SHAKING HANDS WITH CROWD
Pope Francis has been forced to cancel a planned Mass in Rome with other clergy after suffering a ‘slight illness’.
The Vatican said the 83-year-old pontiff had a ‘slight indisposition’ that meant he did not attend an event at the St John Lateran basilica in Rome on Thursday morning.
A spokesman said Francis would continue with the rest of his day’s business, but preferred to stay within the Vatican rather than travel across the city.
There was no word from the Vatican about the nature of his illness, but the pope was seen coughing and blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass.
It comes a day after he kissed heads and touched faces as he met with crowds in St Peter’s Square, saying he had solidarity with those suffering from coronavirus.
Italy is currently in the grips of a coronavirus outbreak that has seen towns in the north placed on lockdown and travellers from the region spread the infection to previously unaffected areas of Europe. Rome had three cases, but all three were cured.
Francis had been scheduled to go to the St John Lateran basilica to meet with Rome clergy and celebrate a penitential Mass at the start of Lent. Francis is bishop of Rome, but delegates the day-to-day running of the archdiocese to a vicar.
North Macedonia had its first case yesterday, after a woman who had returned from a month in Italy was found to be infected with the virus.
In Greece, Athens announced its first infection on Wednesday, a woman aged 38 who had recently returned from northern Italy.
The Greek government said that in the event of a mass outbreak, it would activate temporary restrictions on travel to and from countries with a large number of infections as well as temporarily close schools, places of worship, cinemas, theatres, sports halls and businesses.
Estonia also confirmed its first case today, although that was believed to be linked to Iran – another coronavirus hotspot – rather than Italy.
Local media said the man arrived in Tallinn by bus from the Latvian capital Riga.
‘For now, there are no plans of putting cities in quarantine following this one case,’ social affairs minister Tanel Kiik told public broadcaster ERR.
Similarly, Norway’s first virus patient, whose diagnosis was confirmed on Wednesday, had recently travelled from China rather than Italy.
Italy has confirmed more than 500 cases of the virus with the death toll now at 14 and 50,000 people living under an armed lockdown in northern towns.
EU leaders have rejected calls to shut down border crossings but a number of countries have said people may need to isolate themselves if they return from Italy.
Poland has ordered all passengers returning from Italy and China to be medically tested while Israel, in an unprecedented move, has urged its citizens to reconsider any foreign travel at all.
In Spain, hundreds of tourists are beginning a two-week quarantine at a Tenerife hotel after an Italian doctor brought the virus to the complex.
The doctor, his wife and two more Italians who travelled with them tested positive for the virus after staying at the Canary Islands resort.
Five other cases have been detected in mainland Spain in the last 24 hours – one in the Valencia region, two in the Madrid region and another two in Catalonia.
Quarantine in Spain: Two hotel guests wearing masks wave from the window of the Tenerife resort yesterday where holidaymakers will have to stay put for 14 days
Passengers wearing masks leave a plane at a Warsaw airport early this morning after arriving from Milan and being ordered into medical controls by Polish authorities
In Poland, a health worker wears a surgical mask before passengers from Milan arrive at Krakow International Airport on Wednesday evening
One was a a 22-year-old Spanish man who recently returned from Milan and who tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, local health authorities said.
Spain on Wednesday issued assurances that a cluster of new coronavirus infections did not risk a broader spread, after ten cases were detected since Monday evening.
Spanish health minister Salvador Illa has advised people not to travel to northern Italy and other global hotspots for the disease such as Wuhan in China, South Korea, Japan and Iran.
In Germany, a passenger train was held up for around two hours in the town of Idar-Oberstein yesterday.
A middle-aged man who had recently been in Italy on business was wearing a mask and showing possible virus symptoms – sparking alarm on board the train.
The man was eventually taken to hospital for tests, the results of which are due back today, while other passengers continued their journeys, German media said.
A health worker screens the temperature of a passenger who had arrived in Krakow after flying from Milan Bergamo last night
Hospital workers walk outside the Creil hospital in Paris yesterday after the first French national died of coronavirus, having not travelled to an outbreak hotspot
Germany has confirmed 21 cases, after a 47-year-old man with the virus was taken to hospital in serious condition in Düsseldorf and his wife also tested positive.
Officials said the infected man was from Gangelt, near the Dutch border, and that he had been in contact with countless people in recent days, including during Carnival parties and while visiting a Cologne hospital for an unrelated health checkup.
Israel warns its citizens to avoid ALL international travel
Israel has urged its citizens to reconsider any foreign travel at all in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The warning from Israel’s health ministry is the strictest advice that any country has yet issued about international travel.
Israelis should avoid international conferences and ‘consider the necessity of travelling abroad in general’, the ministry said.
‘The assessment is that there is a high probability the disease has already spread to other regions of Europe and many other places in the world,’ officials said.
The ministry had already instructed Israelis returning from Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea to go into isolation at home for 14 days.
Israel has reported two infections of the coronavirus so far, both involving passengers who had been on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
Others are in quarantine, including those who encountered a group of South Korean pilgrims who visited Israel earlier this month and were later found to have the virus.
At least eight schools in the UK have closed while others have sent pupils home amid fears they may have been exposed to coronavirus during trips to northern Italy.
However, Public Health England (PHE) said that its general advice is not to close schools – a message echoed by health secretary Matt Hancock.
The closures come after travellers returning to the UK from northern Italy were told they may need to self-isolate as part of measures to stop the spread of illness.
In London, energy firm Chevron asked about 300 British employees to work temporarily from home after an employee in its Canary Wharf office reported a flu-like illness.
France has so far registered 18 infections and two deaths, and has urged its nationals to delay any plans to visit virus hotspots in northern Italy.
Students returning from China, Singapore, South Korea and the Italian regions of Lombardy and Venice are being asked to remain at home for two weeks after their return.
In Italy there are fears of excessive panic with psychiatrists saying there have been concerning signs in some aspects of public behaviour.
Rome-based psychiatrist Rossella Candela points to the empty shelves in supermarkets due to panic buying as one example.
‘Certain people adapt. But others react as if they were under bombardment in the Second World War,’ she said.
The rush to buy face masks – which have now all but sold out in pharmacies in the country’s north – is part of the phenomenon, she says.
People wearing masks walk in front of the closed Duomo cathedral as they cross a mostly deserted square in Milan
An Italian sanitation worker cleans a Venice water bus yesterday, with the province of Veneto one of the worst-affected regions of Italy
Passengers wearing masks drag their luggage through the arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel, which has advised people to reconsider any foreign travel
The scene at Idar-Oberstein station in Germany yesterday where emergency crews descended on a train where a passenger had reported possible virus symptoms
Milan metro passengers wearing masks yesterday, with more than 400 coronavirus cases now confirmed in Italy
While authorities are trying to reassure the population, it’s difficult to combat fear when one is confronted by ‘something intangible, invisible, like a virus,’ says psychologist Gabriele Zanardi in Pavia to the south of Milan.
He says that the most worried seem to be outside the areas most heavily affected, as they haven’t experienced the reality of the outbreak.
As a result of the invisible nature of the condition, ‘people try to put a face to this invisible enemy, be it a Chinese person, someone with a cold,’ Zanardi says.
Milan’s Chinatown has been deserted for three days.
In a region governed by former interior minister Matteo Salvini’s far-right League, many Chinatown business owners have avoided ostracisation by closing shops and restaurants.
In Turin, after the first death from the outbreak was announced, a 40-year-old Chinese woman was attacked in the street by strangers who shouted: ‘You have the virus, go away or I’ll kill you.’
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