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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference Monday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 79,400 and killed at least 2,600 so far.
Named COVID-19, the virus has shuttered commerce across much of China and is hitting company earnings, global stock markets and manufacturing across the world.
WHO officials declared the virus a global health emergency last month, while urging the public against over-reacting to the virus.
In the past week, the virus has spread substantially beyond China. In Italy, the virus has infected more than 220 people and killed five as of Monday morning. The majority of the cases are in the northern region of Lombardy and neighboring Veneto, where authorities have shut schools and banned public gatherings in an attempt to contain the virus.
South Korea confirmed another 231 cases on Monday, which brings the total in the country to more than 830. The recent surge in cases prompted the South Korean government raise the COVID-19 alert to its highest level.
Meanwhile, Iran health officials have confirmed 61 total cases in the country as of Monday, with 12 deaths nationwide. Most of the confirmed cases were found in the city of Qom. However, last week health ministry official Minou Mohrez warned about unconfirmed cases.
"It's possible that it exists in all cities in Iran," he said.
The localized outbreaks outside of China are fueling concerns among infectious disease experts and scientists that the virus is spreading too quickly and may be past the point of containment. Health officials are warning the public to prepare for a potential global pandemic.
As the virus spreads, director-general of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is calling the international community to action before it's too late."The window of opportunity is still there, but our window of opportunity is narrowing," he said on Friday. "We need to act quickly before it closes completely."