CORONAVIRUS cases in the rest of the world have outstripped China for the first time.
China, where the virus originated in Hubei last December, now accounts for less than half of the world’s 179,057 cases, according to experts.
The total rose just 16 there yesterday to 81,032. A month ago the daily rise peaked at 4,000.
Deaths around the rest of the world are also now higher. Of the 7,057 to die so far, 3,099 have been in China, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US. A total of 77,658 people have recovered, 55,142 of them in China.
Beijing has now relaxed travel restrictions in Hubei, allowing thousands of workers return to factories.
However, Iran (pictured above), which is second to China in cases, announced another 129 deaths — taking its toll to 853 with 14,991 cases. Among the dead was Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei-Golpaygani, 78, a member of the Iranian clerical body that chooses its supreme leader.
South Korea reported 74 new cases, an improvement on previous days. Prime minister Chung Se-kyun called it a ‘hopeful sign’.
Meanwhile, the virus has extended its spread in Africa, with 30 nations confirmed to have infections.
Egypt reported 150 cases and three deaths with all flights banned from Thursday until the end of the month.
South Africa’s health minister Zweli Mkhize warned a lockdown could be necessary because of the ‘explosive’ rate of cases, which now total 61.
Somalia confirmed its first case, which prompted a ban on all international flights.
Elsewhere, 37 patients thought to be infected fled a hospital in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, after relatives assaulted a number of medics and smashed windows.
In Bangladesh, confirmed cases rose from five to eight.