US health official: COVID-19 nears pandemic level

US health official says the virus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, has infected more than 79,000 people globally, and caused more than 2,600 deaths, is nearing pandemic level. (Feb 24)

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DIY virus protection: Hong Kongers make their own face masks | AFP

Faced with shortages amid the COVID-19 outbreak, some Hong Kongers are making their own face masks, from starting their own factory production line to churning out coverings on street-side sewing machines.

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DIY virus protection: Hong Kongers make their own face masks | AFP

Faced with shortages amid the COVID-19 outbreak, some Hong Kongers are making their own face masks, from starting their own factory production line to churning out coverings on street-side sewing machines.

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Farmer keeps up daily routine in quarantined Vietnamese district | AFP

Farmer Nguyen Van Toan is still going to work in the rice fields each day in Son Loi commune, Vietnam, a week since the 10,000-population area was placed under quarantine after cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus were discovered.

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Shanghai hospital tackles coronavirus cases | AFP

Images from the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, where patients are currently being treated for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The centre so far has admitted 320 confirmed coronavirus cases, 135 of whom have recovered and been discharged, while one has died, according to an official. +REFILES TO ADD AFP TEXT STORY+

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COVID-19 patient dies in France, first death outside Asia | AFP

“This is the first coronavirus death outside Asia,” says Agnès Byzun after the death of the 80-year-old patient who was hospitalised in Paris. SOUNDBITE

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Bad romance: Virus fears dampen Valentine’s Day in HK | AFP

The scent of flowers fills the air at a flower market in Hong Kong but business is bad and the mood is subdued with people worried about the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Images of passengers on quarantined cruise ship in Japan | AFP

Passengers are seen walking on the deck of the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan on Friday. The vessel has become the single largest cluster of cases outside China, with 218 testing positive for the COVID-19 virus as of Thursday and taken to medical facilities. IMAGES

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No major change in ‘trajectory’ of coronavirus outbreak: WHO | AFP

The UN health agency says a sharp rise in reported COVID-19 cases in China, due to a change in counting methods, does not represent a big shift in the epidemic. SOUNDBITE

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Vietnam quarantines commune of 10,000 over coronavirus | AFP

Vietnamese authorities block the access to Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province, home of some 10,600 people, where five residents have been tested positive to the COVID-19 virus. The quarantine starts on February 13 and will last for 20 days.

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Where is the love? Virus fears dampen Valentine’s Day in Shanghai | AFP

Fears of the COVID-19 virus have dampened the mood ahead of Valentine’s Day, with one florist in Shanghai lamenting the lack of orders. “Some people asked me if they can spray disinfectant on the flowers. I said definitely not,” says the florist.

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