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Coronavirus UPDATE: 15 Chinese cities are now in lockdown

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Coronavirus UPDATE: 15 Chinese cities are now in lockdown | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 1,396 around the world, mostly in China, have been infected - Forbes.com
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Things are moving fast with the Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Amid dramatic lockdowns of at least 15 Chinese cities, affecting millions, much remains uncertain about the coronavirus and its method of transmission, or the extent of its spread outside central China. International health authorities continue to scrutinise the virus’ spread and effects with the World Health Organisation meeting daily to assess the latest situation.

This is what we know today…

• Dozens of people are now dead in China as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread throughout Asia and new cases pop up in all corners of the globe.

• To date the death toll stands at 26.

• Almost 1,396 have been infected across the world (as of 6pm Thai time Saturday), the vast majority in mainland China at this stage.

• Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, but festivities have been canceled in Beijing, Hong Kong and other major cities to control the spread of the virus.

• UK health officials are trying to track down hundreds of passengers who recently arrived from Wuhan into the UK.

• Three cases of the coronavirus have been “confirmed” in France, the first in Europe. The first case involved a 48 year old patient in hospital in the southwestern city of Bordeaux while the other was in Paris. A third person, also in Paris, who is reported to be a close relative of one of the other two, has also been confirmed to have the virus. All three had recently travelled to China and had now been placed in isolation.

• The cases mark the first confirmed cases of the virus in Europe, after the outbreak began in China.

• 56 Indian students have been trapped in Wuhan for three days, with some afraid to leave their accommodation and fear that they’ll out of food.

• The previously unknown virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

• The outbreak emerged in late December in Wuhan, an industrial and transport hub of 11 million people in China’s centre, spreading to several other countries including the United States.

• Australia has now declared 4 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus. The first in the state of Victoria, with the patient hospitalised in a stable condition in a suburb of Melbourne. The Chinese national, in his 50s, arrived from China on Sunday on a flight from Guangzhou. Three other cases are in Sydney who arrived from Wuhan. All patients have been isolated.

• The government of Wuhan City is building a 1,000 bed hospital in six days to fight the recent coronavirus outbreak. As the quarantined Wuhan City’s existing hospitals are overwhelmed, they have turned to social media for medical supplies and have begun to turn away patients.

• The rapid construction project is a reaction to hospitals running out of beds in an effort to better address the coronavirus outbreak.

• Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the US, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and Taiwan.

• On Thursday morning at 10 a.m. local time, the city of Wuhan—a city of 11 million and ground zero for the outbreak of the virus—was locked down. No one was meant to get out of the city. Huanggang, a second major central Chinese city, with a population of 7.4 million, was also locked down. It’s the first time such a radical approach to quarantining a virus in an entire city has been attempted.

• 15 Chinese cities are now in formal lockdown, affecting more than 57 million people. All 15 of the cities are in Hubei Province, central China.

• Lunar New Year holiday in China starts today, which normally leads to hundreds of millions taking to the air and to trains to move around the country. But public transportation between cities is being discouraged and some transit stations across the country now closed.

Hong Kong: 5 cases

Thailand: 5 cases

Australia: 4 cases

France: 3 cases

Japan: 3 cases

Malaysia: 3 cases

Singapore: 3 cases

Taiwan: 3 cases

Macao: 2 cases

South Korea: 2 cases

United States: 2 cases

Vietnam: 2 cases

Nepal: 1 case

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Coronavirus

More virus cases reported outside of China than within

Greeley Pulitzer

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More virus cases reported outside of China than within | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - Getty Images

For the first time ever, more COVID-19 coronavirus cases were reported in countries other than China yesterday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The US is urging travellers to delay or cancel travel to South Korea after that country’s confirmed cases passed the 1500 mark. New cases were found around the world, from Pakistan to Brazil.

The Iranian government said yesterday that 19 people have died there so far and 139 people have been infected, but the true numbers are expected to be much higher. A WHO team will travel to Iran this weekend to evaluate the situation. In a move sure to cause shudders in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia has put a halt on religious travel to its holiest sites, Mecca and Medina.

Authorities in the US say they’ve identified their first coronavirus case with no ties to a known outbreak. The news comes after President Donald Trump assured Americans that they face little risk from the outbreak, and appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead the country’s response to the virus.

More virus cases reported outside of China than within | News by The Thaiger

Key Developments

Global deaths: 2,801, with 82,084 cases worldwide

China death toll: 2,744, up 29; cases climb to 78,497, up 433

More virus cases reported outside of China than within | News by The Thaiger

For live updates on coronavirus statistics courtesy of gisanddata, click HERE

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | gisanddata

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Coronavirus

Health minister demands full disclosure of travel history after 3 more coronavirus cases confirmed

Greeley Pulitzer

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Health minister demands full disclosure of travel history after 3 more coronavirus cases confirmed | The Thaiger

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul had harsh words in a press conference yesterday for the 65 year old Thai man who concealed his travel history from medical workers, exposing not only some 30 medics but also his own family members to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The man and his wife had recently returned from Hokkaido in Japan, and, along with their grandson, became the latest confirmed cases of the virus in Thailand, bringing the total to 40. The three are now being treated at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province.

The Public Health Ministry warns people against withholding information to public health officials and has suggested state agencies and companies issue an advisory and/or temporary ban on visits to coronavirus-affected countries, as it increases efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

“If he had not been detected fast enough, he could have become a super-spreader, like [the] elderly woman in South Korea.”

Anutin called man’s conduct “very discouraging, not only for people in general, but especially for the medical staff who have been working very hard.”

All of the classmates of the 8 year old boy, meanwhile, have been quarantined and confined to their homes for 14 days, and their parents told to report to doctors if any of them develops flu-like symptoms.

Anutin said he would prefer that health officials not go abroad and will ask tour agencies to stop offering promotional packages to Japan at bargain-basement prices, some as little as 2,000-3,000 baht, saying it is not worth the risk “as it may be their last trip.”

As for political rallies on school campuses, Anutin said he would like organisers of such events to screen participants and provide face masks and sanitizers at the rally sites.

He assured the public, however, that the spread of COVID-19 in Thailand has not yet reached Level 3.

Permanent secretary of the health department Dr. Sukhum Kanchanapimai said that while there are now 40 confirmed coronavirus cases in Thailand, 24 of them have recovered and returned home.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Tourism

The Coronavirus effect – Phuket and hotel report

Bill Barnett

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The Coronavirus effect – Phuket and hotel report | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett, c9hotelworks.com

“Perhaps the biggest wild card is the mounting number of travel advisories across the globe based on Covid-19”

In what is a continuing storyline on the global coronavirus outbreak, Bill Barnett reports on the impact on Thailand’s most popular island destination, Phuket. He says that the impact on Phuket tourism market is a creating challenging landscape.

“Looking at the largest single drop according to STR data, was the week of January 20 – 27 in the lead up to Chinese New Year, market-wide occupancy fell from 90% down to 60%.”

As of February 17, occupancy was sitting at the mid-50% level, though rate room rates have remained static during the past month. This week hotel numbers continue to shift downward as sentiment worsens due to travel advisories and a uncertainty over return travel are key issues.

The Coronavirus effect - Phuket and hotel report | News by The Thaiger

Moving over to the aviation gateway of Phuket International Airport as of the February 25, month-to-date arrivals compared to the same period last year were down 37.5%. Looking at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, the comparative figure is a negative 45.2%. which ramps into the Phuket situation given it’s a feeder of business to the island.

Forward trading remains speculative, but there remains widespread postponement and/or cancellations of MICE events.

(The Thaiger was speaking to the owner of a big MICE company in Phuket last week who said that they started the year with a good portfolio of upcoming MICE events on the island but ALL had been cancelled)

While there is some movement to motivate the Thai domestic market by the TAT, all of Thailand’s markets are chasing that same tail. The upcoming Songkran period is likely to be dominated by staycations versus international trips abroad. Expectations are that that declining demand and airlift are key factors impacting occupancy and we are starting to see rate-driven promotions which will undoubtedly hit ADR’s (Average Daily Rate).

Perhaps the biggest wild card is the mounting number of travel advisories across the globe based on coronavirus (Covid-19), and for now, travel and tourism are working on day-to-day management of the situation. As the majority of hoteliers are looking for some historical context and the closest thing to grab onto is the SARS crisis in 2003. For Thailand the market hit a freefall over five months from March to July, as market-wide occupancy bottomed out just under the 30% level in May of that year.

Or course, what followed was the big bounce and pent up demand drove recovery in August. It continued with spectacular growth in the decades since.

In the case of the coronavirus, the only takeaway from the current situation is a bit like the Back to the Future gab… “where we’re headed, there aren’t any roads”.

(Almost, the actual quote from the movie is “where we’re heading, we don’t need roads”)

Read a report from The Thaiger about the effect of Coronavirus on the Thai property market HERE.

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