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Coronavirus updates: South Korea reports big jump in cases, virus spreading in Chinese prisons

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Image: A South Korean health official sprays disinfectant in front of a hos
A South Korean health official sprays disinfectant in front of a hospital where a total of 16 infections have now been identified with the coronavirus, near the southeastern city of Daegu on Feb. 21.   -   Copyright  Yonhap
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South Korean city declared 'special management zone' following spread from church Total number of infections stands over 76,000 globally Last healthy travelers to leave stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan• China reports spike in coronavirus cases in prisons• China says earliest coronavirus vaccine to be submitted for trials late AprilSouth Korea declares 'special management zone' following spread from churchThe mayor of South Korean city of Daegu said it was facing an "unprecedented crisis" after a series coronavirus infections linked to a single church service, as worries mounted in the country.The number of cases of coronavirus in South Korea has doubled in 24 hours, reaching 204As the government works to prevent the spread of the virus, events have been cancelled and delayed, and some facilities are being closed down until further notice.The total number of COVID-19 cases stemming from "patient 31" in the city of 2.5 million people— which is two hours south of the capital, Seoul — comes to 58 and of the total 42 made contact at the church.Another 15 were infected in contact at the local hospital, one person infected at the hospital has died, according to a briefing from Korea's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A South Korean health official sprays disinfectant in front of a hospital where a total of 16 infections have now been identified with the coronavirus, near the southeastern city of Daegu on Feb. 21.
A South Korean health official sprays disinfectant in front of a hospital where a total of 16 infections have now been identified with the coronavirus, near the southeastern city of Daegu on Feb. 21.Yonhap

The Shincheonji Church of Jesus — whose leader claims he is an angel of Jesus — has become the biggest cluster of viral infections in South Korea, where a surge in new cases raises fears that the outbreak is getting out of control.Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin on Thursday urged the city's 2.5 million people to stay home and wear masks even indoors if possible.Little is known about the woman known as "patient 31" except that she is in her early 60s, had no recent record of overseas travel and was diagnosed with pneumonia last weekend. _— Stella Kim_Total number of infections stands over 76,000 globallyMore than 76,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, and at least 2,200 people have died as of Friday. The vast majority of the deaths are in mainland China.In Hubei province — the epicenter of the virus outbreak — the number of new confirmed cases in the province was revised from 411 to 631, and the total number of confirmed cases was revised from 62,442 to 62,662 as of Frida_y. — Dawn Liu_ Japan to let off last healthy cruise travelersJapan's health minister said the last cruise ship passengers who tested negative for a new virus will leave the Diamond Princess on Friday after a much-criticized quarantine of the vessel ended.The ship docked at Yokohama has the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 634 cases from the ship confirmed as of Friday. Two former passengers have died.

A mask-clad passenger heads for a temperature check after disembarking from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in quarantine due to fears of coronavirus, at Daikoku pier cruise terminal in Yokohama on Feb. 21.
A mask-clad passenger heads for a temperature check after disembarking from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in quarantine due to fears of coronavirus, at Daikoku pier cruise terminal in Yokohama on Feb. 21.Philip Fong

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference the mass disembarkation into Japan of passengers from the ship is set to end Friday, while dozens of foreign passengers are flying back to their home countries on flights chartered by their governments.This will leave roughly 1,000 passengers who tested negative but shared a room with a COVID-19 positive passenger, as well as the ship's crew. They will be transported to a government facility to be quarantined and monitored for symptoms in isolation starting on Saturday.Japan's government has been questioned over its decision to keep people quarantined on the ship, given the tight quarters and the difficulty of isolating sick people from the healthy. _—_ _Arata Yamamoto and the Associated Press_More than 500 cases reported in Chinese prisonsHundreds of new coronavirus cases in China on Friday traced back to four prisons on the mainland, including two in Hubei, the center of the outbreak.In Hubei, the Wuhan Women's prison has 230 cases, and the Shayang Hanjin prison reported 41 on Friday.Rencheng Jail in eastern China's Shandong province has also confirmed 207 cases of the virus.The Shandong government said that a prison guard at the jail started showing symptoms in early February. All 2,077 people held or working at the prison were given the nucleic acid test and, as of Thursday, 200 prisoners and seven prison officers had tested positive for the virus.In Zhejiang province, 34 prisoners have been infected at Shilifeng jail. The provincial government said these were imported cases from Wuhan, and two prison officials had been removed from their roles. _— Dawn Liu_China says earliest coronavirus vaccine to be submitted for trials late AprilThe earliest vaccine for the coronavirus that has killed more than 2,000 in China alone will be submitted for clinical trials around late April, China's Vice Science and Technology Minister Xu Nanping said on Friday. — _Reuters_Santa Clara patient fully recoveredAs of Thursday, the patient with the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Santa Clara County has fully recovered and has been released from isolation.He was isolated at home and monitored by public health staff for the duration of his isolation. The second case remains in isolation.The Public Health Department continues to work closely with healthcare providers, hospitals, and its partners to address novel coronavirus. Currently, there is no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in Santa Clara County and risk remains low. — Todd Miyazawa