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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus UPDATE: 107 dead, more cases in Singapore and 1 in Cambodia

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Coronavirus UPDATE: 107 dead, more cases in Singapore and 1 in Cambodia | The Thaiger
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The death toll in China from the respiratory illness called the Wuhan Coronavirus or the Novel Coronavirus, has now reached 106, according to Channel News Asia. There are no deaths reported outside China and the vast majority of deaths are in the province of Hubei (76) where Wuhan is the capital.

The number of total confirmed cases has risen to 4,515 as of January 27. The numbers from the National Health Commission in a statement, up from 2,835 reported on January 26.

Chinese authorities have postponed the start of the spring semester for schools and universities across the country, stretching the end of the Chinese New Year holiday three additional days, from this Thursday to the following Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration has taken decisive action and will temporarily stop issuing tourist visas on arrival to Chinese nationals “to help ensure the country remained free of the new coronavirus”.

Comparison between SARS and Coronavirus HERE.

A statement from the Chinese education ministry says teaching institutions around the country would reopen on a case-by-case basis. School administrators had been instructed to, as a precaution, “require students not to go out, not to gather, and not to hold or participate in centralised activities”.

The virus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has since been identified in more than a dozen other countries, including the first confirmed patients in Canada and Sri Lanka. No deaths, connected to the virus, have been confirmed outside China.

China last week locked down up to 15 cities in central China’s Hubei province – the biggest quarantine operation on record. City authorities are racing to build two new hospitals specifically to isolate new cases and treat virus patients.

The World Health Organisation confirmed yesterday that it “remained unclear” if the coronavirus is contagious during its incubation period, before symptoms appear. It hasn’t confirmed assertions made by Chinese authorities over the weekend that people who are infected could spread the disease before they showed any outward symptoms of fever.

Current situation

• The youngest confirmed case is a 9 month old girl in the Chinese capital.

• A fifth case of the coronavirus is confirmed in Singapore, according to the Ministry of Health. The confirmed case is a 56 year old Chinese female from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore with her family on January 18.

• Cambodian authorities have confirmed the first case of coronavirus yesterday. The patient is a Chinese man who arrived with his family from Wuhan to Sihanoukville, on the Gulf of Thailand, in early January. Thailand is conducting checks on all people crossing over the land border from Cambodia into Thailand.

• Thailand and Hong Kong have now both reported eight confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. The US, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five. Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia have four. France has three; Canada and Vietnam have two. Nepal and Cambodia each have one case.

• The lockdown, affecting 56 million people, principally in Hubei cities and other strategic locations, could actually be making the situation worse, according to some medical experts. They say the lockdowns slow the movement of critical medical supplies and also make the lockdown cities a hotbed of panic.

• Stocks have tumbled and oil prices fallen over the past 24 hours as the spread of coronavirus spooks investors around the world. China’s yuan has also fallen in value, while investors continued their move into safe havens like gold. China’s A-shares, the mainland share markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen, is down by more than 5% yesterday.

• In the US, at least 110 people are being tested for coronavirus. Three University of Washington students, recently returned from Wuhan, China, have become sick and are being tested for the virus, but officials claim they are not confirmed cases. The three have been isolated and treated in their dorms and not hospitalised.

The Mayor of Wuhan

Wuhan’s leading Communist Party officials have offered to step down amid the growing criticism that the local authorities’ response was too slow. Mayor Zhou Xianwang says that he and Ma Guoqiang, the city’s Communist party secretary, will take responsibility for the crisis and resign to “appease public indignation.”

The mayor says the ban on travel is “unprecedented in human history”. The ban was enacted last week and effectively cut off the city of 11 million people. Medical workers in the city continue to accuse the Wuhan civil government of reacting too slowly to the crisis. Residents are using social media to complain about the ban on travel that is making it difficult to get food and health care into the city.

Yesterday, Wuhan shops remained mostly closed. But supermarkets, fresh produce markets and shops, and pharmacies, remained open. Many pharmacies report that they have run out of protective masks and hand disinfectant.

Wuhan’s streets remain mostly free of cars. Many residents walked or rode bicycles to do their shopping.

Read our comparison between the SARS virus outbreak, nearly 20 years ago, and the novel coronavirus HERE.

SOURCES: Forbes | Channel News Asia | New York Times | Science Today

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Arriving flights banned until the end of Monday – CAAT

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Arriving flights banned until the end of Monday – CAAT | The Thaiger

Thailand’s CAAT is stopping all passenger flights from arriving in Thailand from this morning (Saturday) until the end of Monday. The country’s Civil Aviation Authority made the order late yesterday, throwing repatriation efforts of several countries into complete confusion. Stranded visitors, hoping to get home, now find their weekend hopes of repatriation dashed.

The country’s aviation regulators say the move is to curb the outbreak of Covid-19.

The problem for passengers trying to fly out is that their planes will now be unable to land until Tuesday. In Phuket’s case there are are some 700-900 passengers who were ready to fly home over the next three days, according to a person familiar with the situation. Phuket’s airport then closes until the end of April on April 10.

“Anyone arriving on a flight that took off before the order came into effect will need to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in Thailand.”

The announcement to close all Thailand’s international airports for three days was made just hours after a debacle at Suvarnabhumi airport when more than 100 Thai nationals arrived on different flights on Friday.

Flights from the US and Japan, carrying Thai nationals, landed at Suvarnabhumi. Thais were returning home to be with their family. But many were unaware of strict government measures introduced on Thursday requiring everyone arriving, including Thais, to be quarantined for 14 days and undergo government health checks.

Arriving flights banned until the end of Monday - CAAT | News by The Thaiger

Worse, a new curfew that kicked in at 10pm meant they were unable to leave the airport building, with cars, taxis and trains not running because of the government-announced curfew.

The rules sparked chaos in the arrivals area near the baggage carousels with some passengers allegedly trying to get past the guards. A spokesperson familiar with the situation acknowledged the commotion.

“A public health officer allowed them to quarantine themselves at home. There was a commotion because they said they weren’t aware they had to be put in a state quarantine.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | DailyMotion

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus UPDATE: Tokyo faces climbing case numbers, makers of ‘Corona’ beer suspend production

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Coronavirus UPDATE: Tokyo faces climbing case numbers, makers of ‘Corona’ beer suspend production | The Thaiger

The international toll has reached 1,097,810 and deaths 59,140 with no sign of a slowdown at this stage (7.30am Thai time). The world will be adding 100,000+ new case every 24 hours within the next few days unless we start to see a flattening of the curve.

The US has had another day of burden for its health system – 32,000 new cases identified and 1,320 deaths. The Covid-19 virus also continues to spread at pace throughout key European countries with Italy and Spain hit particularly hard with with death rates around the 10% mark. Iran stands out amongst Middle East countries with the worst problem by far, having amassed 53,000+ cases and 3,294 deaths. Saudi Arabia still sits at just over 2,000 cases but is seeing a small and steady rise.

Here’s the latest stats from Worldometers.com this morning…

Coronavirus UPDATE: Tokyo faces climbing case numbers, makers of 'Corona' beer suspend production | News by The Thaiger

Snippets of news from around the world…

THAILAND

Covid-19 coronavirus cases in Thailand rose to 1,978 yesterday with 103 new cases confirmed and another 4 patients dying from Covid-19 complications. Total deaths nationwide now stand at 19.

Yesterday’s numbers reinforce a hopeful trend in Thailand of new cases levelling off as restrictions tighten across the country this week. In Pattaya, and the province of Chonburi, provincial leaders are considering a full lockdown to outsiders after the rise of new coronavirus infections this week, almost half of them in and around Pattaya.

Pattaya City is ordering all hotels to alert their guests about the plan and check their numbers in the next three days before the lockdown is announced. Restrictions will include curfews, hotel closures and restrictions on employees leaving the province. Phuket added 13 new cases, reaching 100 cases in total. As with many new cases over the week, most were centred around Patong’s entertainment zone of Bangla Road.

JAPAN

In Tokyo, the daily count of new coronavirus cases has doubled over the past 7 days, from about 40 in the final days of March to 97 last Thursday and 89 yesterday. If the current trend continues, the outlook is bleak, according to an infection control specialist from Kobe University, Kentaro Iwata. He has repeatedly warned that Japan isn’t doing enough to halt the spread of the virus.

“Japan needs to have the courage to change, when we are aware we are on the wrong path. We might see the next New York City in Tokyo.”

US

Health authorities in the US have modified their position on the widespread application of non-medical masks for citizens. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending the general public wear non-medical, cloth masks in public places to help blunt the spread of the virus. The move comes after new research highlights a significant number of people who are not showing symptoms may still have the virus and are spreading it unknowingly amongst the US community.

US President Donald Trump, who remains guarded about the recommendations from his leading Covid-19 scientific advisers, said of the recommendation to wear masks… “So it’s voluntary, you don’t have to do it. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

Federal emergency workers in New York say they are now working quickly to meet demand for medical supplies in the increasingly deadly Covid-19 outbreak.

MEXICO

Mexico’s largest brewing exporter, Grupo Modelo, says it will temporarily stop brewing Corona beer and other brands exported to 180 countries after its business activities were declared ‘non-essential’ under Mexican government orders aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. The brewer says the suspension will go into place from Sunday.

“If the federal government considers it appropriate to issue some clarification confirming beer as an agro-industrial product, at Grupo Modelo we are ready to execute a plan with more than 75% of our staff working from home and at the same time guaranteeing the supply of beer.”

CHINA

A group of Chinese mountaineers have started an expedition to climb Mount Everest while the site remains closed to foreign climbers because of coronavirus. Only Chinese climbers are permitted to join the climbs this spring season because of the pandemic.

The highest mountain in the world straddles the borders of China and Nepal and can be climbed from both sides. Nepal cancelled all expeditions already whilst China has closed its side to all foreign climbers.

Two dozen+ Chinese climbers tackling the Mount Everest challenge are expected to reach the advanced base camp at an altitude of 6,450 metres today. Mount Everest’s peak is 8,848 metres.

ITALY

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy continued to rise steeply yesterday with another 766 fatalities . Over 6,000 patients remained in a critical condition. Italy’s overall death toll now stands at 14,681 leaving Italy as the country worst hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

But experts believe the real toll from the virus in Italy is likely far higher. Matteo Villa is a researcher at the Italian Institute for Political Studies and author of a new study titled ”Coronavirus: Lethality in Italy, between appearance and reality”. He claims that the death toll may have been underestimated by up to 6,000, or a third of the official total.

“For sure, the figures are wrong.”

Here’s yesterday’s ‘Thailand News Today program…

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Is a 24 hour national curfew next?

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Is a 24 hour national curfew next? | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chang Rai Times

The Thai government may impose a 24-hour curfew if the rate of new Covid-19 infections does not slow to a manageable level after this current national trial curfew of 10pm to 4 am and 8pm to 3am in Phuket now in effect. The national curfew was announced yesterday by Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and came into affect from today. There are number of provincial curfews already in place.

Government spokeswoman Mrs Narumon Pinyosinwat made the comment today that the Government will assess the results of the nationwide partial curfew. If the curfew is not having the desired effect, the Government may take a more drastic step but she said that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha does not want to resort to such a “bitter pill”.

Pinyosinwat says it may not be required if the public cooperates with public health advice to stay home and observe strict social distancing when in public.

SOURCES: Chang Rai Times | Thai PBS

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