573 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection reported on Chinese mainland

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Possible community spread has also been reported in California, where officials found the virus in a person with no relevant travel history or exposure.

The lockdown of virus-hit Wuhan and 18 other cities in Hubei with over 50 million people since January 23 has effectively prevented further exportation of infected individuals to the rest of the country, the report said.

Of the 573 confirmed cases, 570 were reported from Hubei and its capital Wuhan, which remained a battle ground for the virus ever since it originated from there in December previous year.

Iran's death toll from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, climbed to 54 as the number of confirmed cases jumped overnight by more than half, to 978 people. So far, the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes have killed more than 40 people out of almost 600 confirmed cases in Iran.

The WHO, however, remained cautious about using the word pandemic, saying that the virus can be contained with appropriate measures and worldwide coordination.

"This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear", Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States explained most COVID-19 cases occurred in adults and there was no evidence to suggest children are more susceptible.

South Korea reported 594 news cases on Saturday, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 2,931.

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The United States on Saturday (local time) recorded its first death, a man in his 50s in Washington state who had underlying health problems but who hadn't travelled to any affected areas.

The National Health Commission made the announcement on Saturday.

In speeches published on Sunday in Qiushi (Seeking Truth), the theoretical journal of China's ruling Communist Party, President Xi Jinping said the country needed to take a "long-term view" of the outbreak and plug "loopholes" in its laws and emergency response mechanisms.

Despite the increase, there is no evidence of the virus spreading freely in communities, said the World Health Organization chief, underlining that there's still the chance of containing it "if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts". The director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci reportedly said that the fatality rate in US could reach the same level as in China because there is no vaccine or cure available as of yet.

The majority of the US cases are evacuees who held on the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was placed under quarantine by Japanese health officials in February before the State Department evacuated hundreds of Americans.

Also on Friday, 2,885 people were discharged from the hospitals after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 288 to 7,664, the NHC said.

One is a health care worker from LifeCare.

The new patient is the county's third case of the disease.

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