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

The Thaiger

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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

China reports further reduction in new coronavirus cases, down to 397; Korea has a second death

Greeley Pulitzer

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China reports further reduction in new coronavirus cases, down to 397; Korea has a second death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Staff at the workshop of Fusen Pharmaceutical China’s Henan Province. The company has resumed production to ensure the supply of medicines during the fight against the coronavirus - Xinhua

China’s National Health Commission announced today that the country had 397 new confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus infections as of yesterday, down from 889 cases a day earlier. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 76,288. The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,345.

Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 106 new deaths, 90 in the capital, Wuhan. New infections in China have been falling for days, although changes in how it counts cases have caused doubts about the true trajectory of the epidemic.

China last week began recording new cases without waiting for laboratory results, causing a significant spike in the number of cases reported. But on Thursday it returned to its original method of counting, and removed some cases from the tally because test results were negative. The changes are sure to aggravate observers who say consistency is key to understanding COVID-19’s path.

South Korea reported 142 more cases this morning, bringing the nationwide total to 346. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional death, bringing the total to two.

Among the latest cases, 92 were connected to a hospital in Cheongdo, a southern city connected to a religious sect. More than 150 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus have now been infected, after a 61 year old woman developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in the city of Daegu before being diagnosed. Cheongdo, around 27 kilometres south of Daegu, is the birthplace of Lee Man-hee, Shincheonji’s founder. County officials said yesterday that a three day funeral was held for his brother three weeks ago at a hall owned by the hospital, where the 92 new cases were confirmed today.

Iran announced three more infections Thursday, a day after it reported its first two deaths.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus

No virus cover-up, PM tweets

Greeley Pulitzer

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No virus cover-up, PM tweets | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CNN file photo

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha went on Twitter yesterday, in an apparent bid to counter “fake news,” and announced there is no COVID-19 coronavirus cover-up happening in Thailand. He insisted the government is neither hiding nor distorting the number of infections in the country and said citizens should “gain confidence” in its remarkable success managing the disease. Earlier in the day, Prayut had urged the public to stay calm and not share “fake news or hate speech” about the virus threat, “because everyone, especially medical personnel, will be working on it until the crisis has passed.”

Although several countries have expressed admiration for Thailand’s ability to stem the spread of the virus, some foreign experts on disease control have doubted the small numbers of confirmed and suspected cases officially reported. Thailand has reported a total of 35 confirmed cases, seventeen of whom have made full recoveries, and has reported no fatalities

“The situation in Thailand today is still in a range we can cope with, and the government will take care of all affected sectors of society.”

The PM came out of an afternoon meeting at Government House on the virus issue, saying the Cabinet will soon announce measures to support entrepreneurs who have been affected by the outbreak.

“Measures already taken have been able to control the situation effectively, but we plan to introduce more to help society cope and more again if the outbreak evolves to the next level. Meanwhile it’s important to shore up the production and distribution of protective facemasks, which is still falling short.”

Businesspeople, especially in the tourism sector, who’ve been hurt by the virus can count on state assistance, Prayut told reporters

“The virus has had an impact on all businesses, so we must resolve the problem in a comprehensive way. I thank all government agencies for their cooperation in helping solve these problems.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus cases more than double in South Korea to surpass 150

Greeley Pulitzer

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Coronavirus cases more than double in South Korea to surpass 150 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: South Korea's coronavirus cases doubled in a day to surpass 150 - Yonhap

South Korea has reported its first death from the COVID-19 corona virus. The government reports that a 63 year old man, who died Wednesday, tested positive for the virus in a post mortem examination. The exact cause of his death has yet to be determined. He died in North Gyeongsang province, where he had been hospitalized for over 20 years, according to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

A 10:30am today, the total number of infected people in South Korea stood at 156, with 70 of them in Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province. Most of the cases have been traced to a church in the city that a 61 year old woman, confirmed as the country’s 31st patient on Tuesday, had attended. Daegu fears becoming Korea’s Wuhan, with largest cluster outside of China: in just 24 hours through yesterday afternoon, the area saw 53 new cases confirmed. Among the new cases, 39 people are linked with the Sincheonji Church of Jesus, a Christian sect to which the 61 year old woman, who tested positive Tuesday, belongs.

KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said 1,001 church members who attended services with the woman are now in self-isolation at home. But the agency is leaning toward the possibility that the woman could have contracted the virus via a secondary infection. She is considered to be a potential “superspreader.”

In a phone survey conducted by health authorities, 90 church members indicated having symptoms so far, although 396 could not be reached.

President Moon Jae-in vowed to mobilise all available resources to Daegu during a phone conversation with Mayor Kwon Young-jin. The central government plans to send medical professionals and facilities to help the city deal with snowballing cases.

Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Kang-lip says the country is facing a new situation that requires a different response.

“At this stage, (the government) has judged that COVID-19, which has been flowing in from overseas, is spreading locally with a limited scope.”

He added that cases where the source of infection is unclear are emerging in Daegu and the capital, Seoul. There are at least 20 coronavirus patients whose transmission path is unknown.

South Korea is now one of the countries that has reported the highest tallies outside mainland China, along with Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

SOURCE: The Nation

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