DETROIT – Concern over the coronavirus is now shifting to new countries and sending stocks tumbling.
More than 76,000 people around the world have been sickened by the virus, but the surges in Italy, Iran, and South Korea are causing uncertainty.
Italy now has the fifth most cases in the world.
Medical investigators still have not pinpointed the origin of the outbreak there, but the dramatic rise has caused the government to place checkpoints in northern Italian towns and warn people there to stay home and take precautions.
Police are manning checkpoints throughout provinces in northern Italy to try and contain the coronavirus. Only vehicles with essential goods, such as medical products, are allowed to go in and out.
Only grocery stores and pharmacies were permitted to open, and people were not supposed to enter or leave the towns.
Some 219 people are infected and five people have died. Aerials of one village showed empty streets, an empty soccer field and closed schools.
Italians to the east rushed to grocery stores to buy canned food and water. Many found empty shelves. Meanwhile South Korea has now raised its coronavirus alert to the highest level.
Its president saying the country faces “a grave turning point” with 7 dead and nearly 800 confirmed cases. The head of the World Health Organization says the sudden increase in other nations is concerning, but stopped short of declaring a pandemic.
But the key message that should give all countries hope, courage and confidence is that this virus can be contained. There are many countries that have done exactly that.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now at least 53 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S.
There are still no confirmed cases in Michigan.