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Coronavirus UPDATE – Confirmed cases surpass 20,000

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE – Confirmed cases surpass 20,000 | The Thaiger
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There are now 20,638 cases of the Novel Coronavirus . So far, there have been 427 deaths, all but one in China. There have also been 688 people recovering from the virus. Importantly, the death rate has been only 2%, a low rate compared to similar outbreaks of flu-like viruses in the past.

Even though the outbreak has spread around China and to 27 other countries, the Chinese government and the World Health Organisation are confident that the situation is much better understood and, mostly, under control in most locations where cases have been confirmed, particularly outside China.

The World Health Organisation’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has again repeated the world health agency’s view that there is no need to impose restrictions that “unnecessarily” interfere with international travel and trade. He told their executive board yesterday that “global collectiveness is a weakness” as the coronavirus continues to spread “but it is also our greatest strength.”

Snippets of Coronavirus news from around the world for your Tuesday morning…

• Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority resorts that a 39 year old man has died this morning in the city’s first death related to the coronavirus. Details of the case will be announced this afternoon at a 4.30pm (local time) media conference. This is likely to be the second known death outside of mainland China. On Sunday, officials confirmed that a Wuhan resident, travelling in Philippines, died in a hospital in Manila.

South Korea’s Hyundai has announced that it has decided to suspend production assembly lines from operating at all of its plants due to disruptions in the supply of parts from China, where many factories are shut down due to the coronavirus. The suspensions will start from February 7 but some productions lines are expected to resume a week later. Hyundai says that it is reviewing ways to minimise the disruption to its operations, including seeking alternative suppliers in the region

• Japan authorities have quarantined an entire cruise ship carrying 3,500 passengers and were testing for the new coronavirus this morning after a passenger who left the cruise in Hong Kong tested positive. Television footage shows several quarantine officers entering the Diamond Princess cruise ship at the port of Yokohama to check the health of all 2,500 passengers and the 1,000 crew members.

An 80 year old passenger, who disembarked on January 25 in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus.

• World scientists and disease experts are now speculating that the 2019-nCoV outbreak (coronavirus) could soon be declared a “pandemic”. The World Health Organisation last week designated the coronavirus a “public-health emergency of international concern.” But describing the virus as a pandemic would take it to a new level since that term usually refers to a more global situation.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the coronavirus is “very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic.”

• Organisers of the biennial Singapore Airshow say the event will proceed as planned from Feb 11 for five says, but a related summit involving 300 aviation leaders, including government officials, airline executives, and civil aviation authorities, has been cancelled.

• The first US patient who was confirmed with a case of novel coronavirus, a man in his 30s, is now recuperating at home after being discharged from the Providence Regional Medical Centre in Washington.

“The patient remains in isolation at home and is being monitored by the Snohomish Health District, in coordination with his care team at Providence. For the privacy of the patient, we will not be disclosing the exact date of discharge or any additional details regarding his discharge process.”

• There are at least 11 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the US. 6 cases have been confirmed in California, 1 in Massachusetts, 1 in Washington state, 1 in Arizona and 2 in Illinois. There have been two instances of human-to-human transmission, 1in Illinois and 1 in California.

• The Thai Ministry of Public Health released some more information about their claim of a discovery of a medical treatment that rendered the new viral strain “impotent in 48 hours”.

The breakthrough discovery was made in the case of a 70 year old Chinese woman who was admitted to a hospital for pneumonia and excessive fluid in the lungs caused by the coronavirus. The unnamed woman had repeatedly tested positive for coronavirus for 10 days before doctors administered her with a combination of anti-HIV and flu treatment medication, Rajavithi Hospital lung physician Kriangsak Atipornwanich said at a news conference, according to Khaosod English.

“The patient then tested negative just 48 hours later. The lab result was cross-examined and confirmed by Chulalongkorn Hospital and the Department of Medical Sciences. The anti-HIV medicines used in the treatment were a cocktail of Ritonavir and Lopinavir, while the flu medication was identified as Oseltamivir.”

Department director Somsak Akkslip says the hospital is sharing their findings with the international medical community.

• A new case of the virus has been identified in Bavaria, Germany. That brings the total number of cases within Germany to 11. The eleventh case was identified in a child from the district of Traunstein, who tested positive just a week after the child’s father was found to have been infected. The information from the State Office for Health and Food Safety. The 33 year old father is an employee at a company in the district of Starnberg, where 6 other employees previously tested positive with the virus.

• Following the extension of the Chinese New Year holiday because of the outbreak of coronavirus, China’s government has reinforced labour laws that require employees to be compensated while on vacation. Local government agencies have also formulated their own announcements based on the law.

• Apple’s Q1 prospects have taken a hit due to the Coronavirus outbreak, says analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He forecasts a 10% decrease in shipments, down to 36-40 million units for the first quarter of 2020, despite assurances from Foxconn last week that production will not be affected. iPhone camera parts and other components are made in Foxconn’s factory in Wuhan. The company has temporarily shut all of its 42 stores in China in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.

• US franchises, Starbucks and McDonalds, have closed all their Hubei stores indefinitely while car-makers Honda and Renault have extended the shutdown period in their Wuhan plants until February 13. Peugeot and Toyota have halted operations at their Chinese plants.

• Two specially chartered Air India flights brought home more than 650 Indian passengers from Wuhan over the weekend. The passengers have been quarantined in two separate camps in and around the country’s capital, New Delhi.

• The Canadian government is still waiting on permission, as well as flight lists and document approval, from the Chinese government in order to repatriate Canadians from Wuhan. François-Philippe Champagne has formally thanked the Chinese and Vietnamese authorities for their cooperation, adding “it is a multistep process given the complexity of this evolving situation.”

• Hong Kong’s hospital authority is urging healthcare workers to return to work after they began a strike yesterday in response to the government’s handling of the coronavirus. The HA is calling “all healthcare workers participating in industrial action to return to work as soon as possible to avoid further affecting public hospital services and patient treatment.”

• The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has listed 260 “patients under investigation” for the coronavirus across 36 states of the US. The memo dated yesterday, notes that it’s an increase of 19 patients from the last update, provided Friday. Of the 260 patients under investigation, 11 have tested positive, 167 negative, and 82 are still pending.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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