California declares state of emergency, and German health minister labels outbreak a pandemic.
Modelling in Australia anticipated the worst-case scenario in which millions within the country could become diagnosed with Covid-19, with China's death toll approaching 3,000.
Developments have emerged as the corona virus continues to spread throughout the world. South Korea's number of confirmed cases reached 6,000 on Thursday, and Italy ordered the closing of all schools after the virus spread to all but one of its 20 areas, killing 107 people. The United Kingdom has been warned that an outbreak is likely to occur.
A further 31 virus deaths in China resulted in more than 3,000 deaths on Wednesday. Both ends occurred in the province of Hubei, the heart of the outbreak, and the authorities reported 139 new cases–an improvement over the previous day's number.
In the US, California declared a state of emergency in 53 confirmed cases, and a cruise ship related to the first death of the state outbreak was held off the coast of San Francisco.
On Thursday, Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, told reporters that the federal government – which introduced the Pandemic Preparation Strategy last week – was looking at scenarios "from the mildest to the millions of people who have been infected over several weeks."
The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said that they did not want to create unnecessary anxiety in the population by being speculative but that they would try to be "candid and upfront."
Brad Hazzard, Australia's most populous state health minister, New South Wales, said earlier that there had been an "evolution" in the spread of the virus, and containment was now "an unlikely outcome."
"We, therefore, need to collaborate constructively with the government and intensify our attempts to demonstrate to the community that[ control of the virus] is a partnership Hazzard said.
"Our society must do everything they can to help us fight what has become a battle to defeat this corona virus." There are 53 confirmed cases in Australia, including a baby. Most of the infected people had returned from abroad and had already contracted the disease. Three of them died. The most recent death was an older woman who had contracted the virus from an employee at the elderly care home where she lived
One individual was also infected in the Northern Territory, home to hundreds of isolated Indigenous communities that were at the centre of the H1N1 Swine Flu outbreak in 2009.
Cases of panic buying food and essential items have also been widely reported. Australia has joined at least 35 other countries to impose travel restrictions on people from South Korea, the most significant outbreak outside China.
In South Korea, the number of infections was close to 6,000, with 34 deaths. The government declared on Thursday a third "special care zone" over Gyeongsan, a city of about 275,000 people 250 km (150 miles) south-east of Seoul, after a dramatic rise in cases there, including at a nursing home.
The move means that Gyeongsan will join Daegu and Cheongdo County nearby to receive additional medical resources and staff. However, the government has advised people not to go to three sites.
Around 60 per cent of all cases in South Korea were related to a branch of Daegu's religious Shincheonji sect.
The outbreak brings the city's health system under pressure, with hospitals unable to accommodate new patients. Daegu city officials said 2,117 people were waiting for hospital rooms, while the health ministry said hundreds of newly qualified nurses were due to start work in the city on Thursday. According to the local government and health ministry, the number of cases in Japan increased to 1,036 on Thursday. The total includes 706 Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers and crew and 14 people repatriated last month from Wuhan, where the outbreak started.
Minister of Olympics Seiko Hashimoto said Japan is planning to host the Olympics this summer as scheduled Hashimoto, who said the Games could be delayed this week, told a parliamentary committee: "It would be unacceptable for the athletes to cancel or delay the Games. We need to ensure we have an atmosphere where athletes can relax and feel at ease."What's obvious is we haven't reached the peak of the epidemic yet," Jens Spahn told German lawmakers.
In Hong Kong, a "too positive" test result in a pet Pomeranian dog was "unanimously" considered on a case of human-to-animal transmission by health experts involved. Pet owners were cautioned not to kiss their dogs but also not to hesitate and certainly not to give them up.