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Coronavirus UPDATE – first death outside China, 14,559 confirmed cases

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Coronavirus UPDATE – first death outside China, 14,559 confirmed cases | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Passengers travelling to Ghuangzhou, China at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport - Luke Dray/Getty Images
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Deaths from the coronavirus outbreak have now reached 305 today, including the first outside China, a 44 year old Chinese man in the Philippines. 14,559 people are now confirmed with the virus, the vast majority in China. Whilst the fatality rate remains at 2% with the current level of cases, many have also recovered and returned home. Many remain in hospitals around the world and continue to recover from symptoms.

But, in efforts to control the spread of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, an increasing number of countries are also imposing restriction on travel to and from China.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ Health Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed this morning the first death in the country and the first outside China.

Duque reports that the 44 year old Chinese male partner of the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the country, a 38 year old Chinese woman, also tested positive for the virus and died yesterday.

Coronavirus UPDATE - first death outside China, 14,559 confirmed cases | News by The Thaiger

GRAPH: Worldometers

Milestones of the Wuhan Coronavirus

December 8: First patient develops symptoms of Wuhan coronavirus
December 31: Earliest cases of virus reported to World Health Organisation
January 1: Wildlife market in Wuhan, Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, is closed for disinfection
January 7: Chinese scientists identify the pathogen as new strain of coronavirus (like SARS and MERS)
January 9: First death linked to virus
January 20: First reported cases outside Hubei, in Beijing and Shenzhen
January 23: Wuhan is placed on lockdown, with movement halted in or out of the city. 60 million+ people affected by travel restrictions in Wuhan and neighbouring cities. WHO says virus is not yet a public health emergency of international concern
January 28: Death toll tops 100. The number of confirmed cases in mainland China overtakes the deadly 2003 SARS outbreak
January 30: WHO declares a “public health emergency of international concern”
January 31: Thailand health officials confirm first case of human-to-human transmission
February 2: First Wuhan coronavirus death reported outside of mainland China, in Philippines

Meanwhile, back at the epicentre of the outbreak, Wuhan authorities have finished building a new 1,000 bed hospital especially to treat coronavirus patients. The Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang handed the new Huoshenshan Hospital over to the military this morning. According to CCTV, 1,400 military medical personnel will start working in the hospital from tomorrow. The facility has been constructed in three weeks.

China finally launched into unprecedented action last week, effectively quarantining entire cities across Hubei province and more than 50 million people. Wuhan officials have been heavily criticised online for withholding information about the outbreak until late December despite knowing of it weeks earlier, according to a Reuters report.

Unprecedented safeguards are imposed nationwide include postponing the return of students to school following the Chinese New Year holidays, cutting bus and train services, and tightening health screening on travellers nationwide.

In recent days Britain, Russia and Sweden have confirmed their first infections, the virus has now spread to 27 countries. Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, US, Germany, Vietnam and the UAE have all added cases to their lists over the past 24 hours.

France government officials announced that they are helping evacuate 10 Mexican citizens from Wuhan. The 10 Mexican nationals are first flying to France after being examined to confirm they don’t have symptoms.

Both the US and Australia are among a growing list of countries that are putting temporary travel restrictions on Chinese nationals or those who have travelled to China within the last two weeks.

Australian officials have confirmed that they were barring entry to non-citizens arriving from China, while Australian citizens who had travelled there would be required to go into “self-isolation” for two weeks. Australians are debating the option of locating the quarantined citizens on the controversial Christmas Island, on offshore refugee camp that many nickname the country’s “leper colony”.

Vietnam has now suspended all flights from mainland China, effective from yesterday, while Russia announced it would halt visa-free tourism for Chinese nationals.

Thailand was mulling a similar change to its free visas-on-arrival but the Thai PM has asked his Public Health Ministry to reconsider their recommendation after the country’s tourism minister said the revocation would be catastrophic for Thai tourism. As of this morning, Chinese nationals can still arrive, albeit on a much-reduced schedule of flights, and get a visa-on-arrival.

The US, Japan, Britain, Germany and other nations had already advised their citizens not to travel to China.

The UK says it was temporarily withdrawing some diplomatic staff and their families from across China. This comes a day after the US State Department ordered embassy employees to send home family members under 21 years of age.

The US emergency declaration now requires US citizens returning from Hubei province, the epicentre of the current coronavirus outbreak, to be placed in mandatory 14 day quarantine.

With local anger mounting in China, Ma Guoqiang, the Communist Party chief for Wuhan, admitted that authorities there had acted too slowly.

“If strict control measures had been taken earlier the result would have been better than now.”

In Thailand, health officials announced on Friday that a taxi driver was the kingdom’s first case of human-to-human transmission.

Four Chinese airline passengers from China’s Hubei province, and one Thai citizen – a taxi driver – have now been confirmed as infected with the novel coronavirus. The taxi driver was the first instance of a local human-to-human viral transmission. The driver had never travelled to China, let alone since mid-December when the Wuhan coronavirus was first identified. Since his diagnosis, Thai health officials have traced 13 people who had been in close contact with the taxi driver, but none have tested positive for the virus at this stage – the update from the deputy head of the disease control department, Tanarak Plipat.

Thailand now joins China, Vietnam, Germany, Japan, France and the US with confirmed domestic infections.

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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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