A staggering 50 people died in the Iranian city of Qom from the new coronavirus in the month of February, Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency reported on Monday. The new death toll is significantly higher than the latest number of confirmed cases that Iranian officials had reported just a few hours earlier, which stood at just 12 deaths out of 47 cases, according to state TV.
The 50 deaths date back as far as Feb. 13, according to an Iranian official. Iran previously reported its cases and deaths from the virus on Feb. 19.
Authorities are struggling to contain and understand the outbreak in those countries, where infected cases have skyrocketed as they have increased over 2,000 percent in the past couple weeks.
Italy is considered the site of Europe's first major outbreak and the largest outside of Asia. The number of infected cases jumped to 152, compared to just three 10 days ago.
The country is currently scrambling to disrupt the spread of the virus, which has seen 110 cases in Milan, its financial district and Venice, known as a famous hub for tourists throughout the world. Events and soccer matches were canceled in the country, while some of its movie theatres were reportedly shuttered, including Milan's legendary La Scala.
“We are worried about the situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Italy,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Stockholm via a video link.
Cases in South Korea increased to 763 on Monday, with 161 more people infected within the last 24 hours. The country had just 28 infected cases on Feb. 14.
President Moon Jae-in called for "unprecedented, powerful" steps on Sunday to fight the virus which is spreading rapidly throughout the country — including the capital Seoul.
“The coming few days will be a critical time for us,” Jae-in said. “The central government, local governments, health officials and medical personnel and the entire people must wage an all-out, concerted response to the problem.”