Infected patients worldwide reaches 64,448 whilst the death toll from the coronavirus has plateaued in the past 24 hours to 1,383. According to the Chinese National Health Commission, the current number of infections of coronavirus (aka. covid-2019) in mainland China is 63,8591, up some 5,000 from the day before. 7,101 patients have now full recovered.
There are at least 585 confirmed cases of coronavirus in more than 25 countries and territories outside mainland China. A Japanese woman in her 80s is the third person to die of the virus outside mainland China. Japan leads the way in current cases with 252 patients, followed by Singapore (58), Hong Kong (53) and Thailand (33).
More news from around the world
• In Macau, the virus has had a devastating impact on tourism in the southern Chinese version of Las Vegas. The enclave relies heavily on mainland Chinese gamblers and tourists. Gambling remains illegal on the mainland and Chinese New Year is usually a particularly busy time for Macau’s casinos. By all estimations by the local associations, tourism to Macau had dropped 73.6% year-on-year.
A total of 41 entertainment operations in the semiautonomous Chinese city have been suspended for 15 days and are set to re-open on February 21. They include casinos, betting branches, theatres, cinemas, game centres, internet cafes, discos, bars, nightclubs and dance halls.
• Hundreds of passengers, previously stuck onboard the Westerdam cruise ship in southeast Asia, have been able to disembark and wander around Sihanoukville, Cambodia. They were even greeted by Cambodian PM Hun Sen who has somehow turned the plight of the ship, refused berthing permission by four other countries, including Thailand, into a PR stunt.
According to tweets from the Holland America Line, some passengers began to disembark from the Westerdam. The passengers had previously been unable to find a place to disembark the ship due to countries’ fears of a coronavirus outbreak on board.
It was turned away by Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. No cases of coronavirus has been detected onboard after it docked in Cambodia. It will take some days to disembark all the passengers due to charter flight connecting schedules.
• Off the coast of Yokohama, Japan, a long wait wait continues for passengers on board the Diamond Princess, where 219 cases of the virus have been confirmed. According to medical authorities on the ship, more infections are expected to be discovered before the quarantine is lifted. The ship will stay under a 14 day quarantine until February 19.
In a statement read to the marooned passengers on Diamond Princess cruise ship, Japan’s vice minister for health, labour and welfare told them the Japanese government appreciated their “understanding and cooperation.” Minister Gaku Hashimoto said that he knew the situation was “difficult and inconvenient.”
“We also understand that there are many people who are hoping to go home as soon as possible, and people who have pre-existing medical conditions who are still on board.”
So far there have been 219 cases of the coronavirus found onboard, the largest outbreak of the virus outside of mainland China.
• The economic casualties from the coronavirus outbreak continue to mount as Asian and European auto manufacturers run short of car parts, the free-spending Chinese tourists stay home and western companies brace for unpredictable turbulence in the fragile world economy.
Economic pundits predict that we’ve only just seen the start of a financial hangover that is expected to linger for months even if the flu-like illness is quickly brought under control. “The Chinese epidemic’s aftereffects will likely cause the global economy to shrink this quarter for the first time since the depths of the 2009 financial crisis”, according to Capital Economics in London.
• Villages in Vietnam, housing some 10,000 residents close to the nation’s capital Hanoi, were placed under quarantine yesterday after six cases of the novel coronavirus were discovered there. The locking down of the commune of Son Loi, about 40 kilometres from Hanoi, is the first mass quarantine outside of China since the virus emerged in Wuhan, Hubei in December last year.
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