A Canary Islands hotel is on lockdown. Italy deployed its army to the “red area.” Cases of the coronavirus linked to the Lombardy region have spread to Spain, France, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland.
In just days, a virus that had been mostly contained to countries surrounding its center in Wuhan, China, went global. European health ministers met on Tuesday to work on a collective strategy, as the rapid spread underscored just how difficult it will be to control the virus.
Outside of Asia, Italy has had the worst outbreak, and its industrial heartland has been hit hard. This has heightened fears about disruptions to the global supply chain and risks of economic damage across the Continent.
Countries with commercial ties to Italy, like France, Croatia and the United States, are canceling study-abroad programs, changing train service and installing checkpoints. Places with weaker infrastructure are scrambling to do what they can — Budapest’s airport, for example, is installing thermal cameras.
Here are the latest updates on the virus and maps of where it has spread.
Details: Italy reported 322 infections through Tuesday, up from 229 a day earlier, and the death toll rose to 10.
Go deeper: We spoke to Jason Horowitz, our Rome bureau chief, about the spread of the virus in Europe. See what he said in today’s Back Story.
An ‘unprecedented’ global health challenge
The top U.S. health official warned that the coronavirus outbreak, which has already sickened nearly 80,000 people in 37 countries, could hit the country hard, as chaos in the rest of the world drew attention to the need for a global game plan.
“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus,” the official, Alex Azar, said. “And we need to be realistic about that.”
The emergence of Italy, Iran and South Korea as new hubs for the virus shifted the focus in many countries from prevention to reaction. A 14-day isolation period has become standard, but that can be difficult to put in place, and its effectiveness has been called into question.
Markets: Stocks dropped again on Tuesday, as the outbreak, now in its sixth week, rattled investors who fear that the spread of the virus will push down global demand.
Related: Cases in at least eight countries have been traced to Iran, which is emerging as a second focal point after China for the spread of the infection. Even its top health official in charge of fighting the outbreak tested positive.
New York Times