Virus hospital closes as new cases drop in Wuhan

Health officials in the Chinese city that started the world's coronavirus outbreak are claiming a victory in containing the virus.

They've closed one of Wuhan's 16 new hospitals - the hospitals it rapidly constructed back in January to cope with the flood of new patients.

Officials say there's finally been a drop in new cases in the city. On Sunday (March 1) they reported fewer than 200 in a day, for the first time since January.

There are still 15 of the hospitals in operation and millions of people in China in effective quarantine, their cities on lockdown.

But at least in Wuhan and its surrounding areas the government says it will start transitioning from overall containment to more targeted measures.

Meanwhile around the world the virus is continuing to spread. Reuters estimates there are 89,000 cases globally, and 3,000 killed most in China.

There are over 8,800 cases abroad.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WHO DIRECTOR GENERAL, TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, SAYING:

"Stigma is the most dangerous enemy. For me, it's more than the virus itself."

That was the head of the World Health Organization on Monday (March 2).

The three countries worst hit outside China -- South Korea, Italy, and Iran, are continuing to grapple.

South Korea is considering murder charges against the leader of a secretive church - it's self-proclaimed messiah - at the heart of its outbreak.

South Korea has over 4,300 cases and 26 deaths.

In Europe's worst hit, Italy with over 1,700 cases, the government is preparing a stimulus program to help shelter its fragile economy.

In Venice, for example, its canals which are usually packed with tourists were completely deserted when Reuters visited on Sunday.

Italy's tourism board reports over 90% of its travel bookings have been canceled in Rome alone.

And in Iran, with just under 1,000 cases, the death toll has hit least 66 including a senior official.

As of Monday at least 66 countries have reported cases.