China reported a further increase in coronavirus infections on Sunday when President Donald Trump pushed to rest after the first death on US soil and Australia had his first death.
The virus has spread to more than 60 countries around the world, prompting the World Health Organization to raise its risk assessment to the highest level.
Nearly 3,000 people worldwide have been killed and around 87,000 infected since the virus was first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year.
China reported 573 new infections on Sunday, the highest level in a week after a decline. All but three were in Hubei Province, whose capital is Wuhan.
While the numbers in China are still far below the enormous daily gains in the first two weeks of February, COVID-19 has spread quickly across the borders, with South Korea, Italy and Iran becoming hotspots.
The Iranian Ministry of Health reported 11 new deaths from the novel corona virus and 385 infections on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths to 54 and the number of cases to 978.
South Korea, which has the most infected people outside of China, reported 586 new cases on Sunday, for a total of 3,736.
Australia reported the first death on its floor – a 78-year-old man who had been evacuated from the coronavirus-infested cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan.
There are fears that the disease could hit the global economy and stock markets fell to their lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.
"First death on US soil"
Global attention was focused on the United States on Saturday after the first death on American soil was confirmed.
"We have taken the most aggressive measures to deal with the corona virus," said President Donald Trump at a hastily arranged press conference at the White House.
"Our country is prepared for all circumstances … There is no need to panic at all."
The death occurred in King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, a city of over 700,000 people.
The victim was in her fifties and had "underlying health conditions," officials added when she also announced a possible outbreak in a Washington, DC nursing home where a health worker and a resident in the 1970s were both ill with the virus have been confirmed.
Other residents and staff were "ill with respiratory problems or hospitalized with pneumonia of unknown cause," said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The death and two confirmed cases in Washington affected all affected patients who had not traveled overseas or had come into contact with someone who is known to be ill, indicating that the virus has spread to the United States ,
"We'll see more cases," Health Minister Alex Azar said in the White House.
"But it's important to remember that the vast majority of people who contract the novel coronavirus experience mild to moderate symptoms."
"France, Italy measures"
France has canceled meetings of 5,000 or more people after having confirmed 16 new cases on Saturday, bringing the country's total to 73.
The Paris Half Marathon on Sunday and an agricultural symposium were among the events that were canceled.
Italy, the hotspot of the outbreak in Europe, saw an increase in new cases on Saturday. The number of infections exceeded 1,000 and the number of fatalities rose by eight to 29.
The outbreak forced five games to be postponed in Serie A's highest Italian football league, including the heavyweight clash between champions Juventus and Inter Milan.
In Japan, only 200 people took part in the Tokyo marathon on Sunday after being reduced from a mass event with 38,000 runners to elite athletes. And the sumo spring tournament, which will open next Sunday, will now take place behind closed doors due to the corona virus.
The epidemic has also spread to sub-Saharan Africa in recent days, while Qatar, Ecuador, Luxembourg and Ireland confirmed their first cases on Saturday.
Governments around the world have been trying to prevent the virus from spreading, from large-scale bans on millions of people in China to flight bans and travel restrictions due to disease sources.
Beijing's drastic steps include curbing the human movement, temporarily shutting down factories across China, and quarantining Hubei, an important industrial province where the virus first appeared.
South Korea's epidemic focuses on the fourth-largest city, Daegu, whose streets have largely been deserted for days, apart from long lines in the few shops with masks for sale.
The number in South Korea is expected to increase as the authorities investigate more than 210,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a secret entity that is often accused of being a cult associated with about half of the country's cases.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)