Amid alarms and warnings from international organizations about the spread of COVID-19, which has so far kept Italy on tenterhooks due to the increase in infections amounting to more than 150, the United Kingdom reported the infection of 4 people on Feb. 23.

According to The Telegraph, verification of the infection in British passengers traveling aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship was made public on Sunday morning, after their return from Japan the day before.

For now, those infected have been taken to various National Health Service (NHS) infection centers, with two taken to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, one to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and one to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, the NHS reported.

Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident manager for coronavirus said, “These specialist centers are well prepared to deal with cases and earlier this year, the Newcastle unit successfully treated and discharged two patients who had contracted the virus.”

With the new cases, the list of infections in the United Kingdom has risen to 13, raising expectations due to the spread of the virus in Europe. The focus is now on northern Italy, where 11 cities are in lockdown in the provinces of Lombardy and Veneto.

The outbreak, which has so far led to the closure of public events in Italy, has Japanese authorities on edge ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while tension is mounting over cases in South Korea and Iran, leading some experts to be pessimistic about the chances of containing the virus.

While the government of South Korean President Moon Jae-In raised the alert to its highest level with the death of six citizens and more than 600 estimated cases of infection, announcing additional funds from the national budget to treat the epidemic, Iran confirmed 12 deaths out of 47 infected, according to AFP.

Devi Sridhar, director of the global health governance program at the University of Edinburgh, said, “The window of opportunity to contain the outbreak is closing very quickly.”

Meanwhile, Cheryl Cohen of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said doctors in South Africa are on alert, indicating that more than 850 doctors in the country’s nine provinces have been taught to detect the disease.

As reported in The Economist, the WHO is currently sending surgical masks, gowns, and gloves to more than 50 countries in Africa, teaching health officials how to use these devices to avoid infection and prevent symptoms of disease.

Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently accepted in an unusual way that the methods the regime has used to deal with the epidemic crisis that originated in the city of Wuhan has “obvious defects.”

Xi’s words put to the test the truthfulness with which the communist regime has been reporting the outbreak of the virus, leaving open the possibility of an even more critical scenario than the one in which 1,775 deaths and 72,000 cases of infection have been estimated.

For the time being, the number of cases of coronavirus infection recorded worldwide remains at 78,914, of which 2,467 have died.