Fears of coronavirus pandemic growing as cases rise in South Korea

South Korean officials are racing to contain the spread, and said most cases were linked to a single church and hospital nearby.
2:19 | 02/23/20

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Transcript for Fears of coronavirus pandemic growing as cases rise in South Korea
Overseas to the growing fears over the coronavirus. Officials warning we could be on the brink of a global pandemic. Hot Zones in China. Hundreds of cases in south Korea. The virus spreading in Europe. New warnings tonight for Americans here at home. ABC's senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell is in Seoul, South Korea, tonight. Reporter: Tonight, fears of a coronavirus pandemic are growing. Now a major new outbreak in South Korea, more than 400 cases. The government saying most of them are linked to a single religious sect and a nearby hospital. South Korean officials racing to contain the spread, spraying the streets and testing thousands of people. So, when you get countries like Japan and South Korea that have these cases that are person to person to person without any real ability to point to where it came from, that's the makings of a pandemic. Reporter: A new outbreak now developing in northern Italy. A dozen towns on lock down. Churches and businesses closed. And mill la shutting down public offices. As with new outbreaks in the Middle East, many have no obvious link to China. The world health organization says covid-19 has killed more than 2,300 people, with more than 77,000 cases. And warning that the window of opportunity is narrowing to contain the outbreak. America's top infectious disease doctor warning if the spread doesn't slow, we could see more cases in the U.S. If this evolves into a pandemic, there's no way we in the United States are going to escape having more infections in this country. Reporter: There are 13 Americans under quarantine in this unit in Nebraska. 11 testing positive for covid-19 -- all came from that cruise ship in Japan. Ian Pannell joins us now from South Korea. I want to focus on the country you're in right now. What are health officials doing there to stop the rapid spread of this virus? Reporter: Tom, they're designating two areas, special management Zones. Shops, businesses closed inside there. The authorities are concentrating on trying to identify anyone connected with the outbreak, testing thousands of people. We have been in touch with two American teachers based inside the hot zone. They're telling us they have confidence the authorities are on top of this.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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