Pope cancels gatherings as virus infects over 100,000 globally

Pope Francis has canceled his regular public appearances to avoid crowds gathering to see him during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Vatican said that on Sunday (March 8) the 83-year-old pontiff will not address crowds from a window overlooking St. Peter's Square, and for the time being, will opt for video streaming instead.

Italy is the worst-hit European country, with a death toll of nearly 200.

The leader of the country's co-ruling Democratic Party Nicola Zingaretti confirming on Saturday (March 7) that he too had contracted the virus.

The number of cases worldwide is now approaching 102,000.

According to a Reuters tally, 3,480 people have died so far.

On Saturday, France, Germany and the Netherlands all reported a rise in the number of cases...

while Malta, Slovakia and Serbia confirmed their first infections.

Iran's death toll has now reached 145 after another 21 people were confirmed to have died during the last day.

While the outbreak began in mainland China, the epidemic is now spreading faster elsewhere.

According to official data about a quarter of China's new confirmed cases originated outside the country on Friday (March 6).

In the U.S., 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise liner that was barred from docking in San Francisco have tested positive.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday the ship would be brought to an unspecified non-commercial port where three and a half thousand people - including passengers and crew, would undergo another round of tests.