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Coronavirus UPDATE – Confirmed cases exceed 17,000, 362 deaths

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE – Confirmed cases exceed 17,000, 362 deaths | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Arrivals of Chinese travellers slow to a trickle
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The Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has now spread to 27 countries and territories worldwide. There are 17,387 confirmed cases and 362 deaths as of this morning.

Welcome to our Monday morning update as we enter a new month with the coronavirus still growing , both inside China and outside, with the first death outside China over the weekend – a 44 year old Chinese visitor to The Philippines. Thailand currently has 19 confirmed cases of the virus with 7 people already fully recovered and going home. One of the cases is a Bangkok taxi driver who was confirmed with the Coronavirus on Friday and had never visited China.

In other milestones…

• Doctors in Thailand claim they discovered a medical treatment that cured a patient of coronavirus ‘in 48 hours’. Dr. Kriangsak Atipornwanich, from Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok, says he treated a 71 year old female from China with a combination of drugs used in HIV and flu treatments. He said the patient had previously been treated with only anti-HIV drugs.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health, maintains there are currently no proven effective drugs to treat the virus.

Meanwhile, hospitals in Beijing reportedly used a similar cocktail of antiviral drugs given to HIV and AIDs patients as part of treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus. It is unclear, probably scientifically unlikely, that they were successful.

• On a related note, a hospital in Rome announced yesterday that it has isolated the DNA sequence of the coronavirus. Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza says the discovery has been communicated tot he World Health Organisation and will immediately be made available to the entire international scientific community in the interests of taking further measures against the outbreak. The discovery was made at the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome.

• China has reported a case of H5N1 bird flu in Shaoyang city in central China’s Hunan province. The virus has killed 4,500 chickens of 7,850. Local authorities have sealed off and sterilised the infected area. A total of 17,828 chickens have been culled and safely disposed according to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said (full story soon).

• In Thailand PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is coming under blistering criticism for doing too little too late to handle the health threats posed by the virus, now declared by the World Health Organisation as a global health emergency.

Many prominent critics, from the media, opposition and online community are calling for the prime minister’s resignation and questioning the government’s incompetency in coping with the coronavirus. Other netizens and critics maintain the government should have suspended all flights to and from the Chinese city of Wuhan where the outbreak originated and question why the government had only has just thought of suspending visas-on-arrival for Chinese tourists over the weekend.

Critics are also slamming the government for being too slow to evacuate Thais, including several students, trapped in Wuhan.

• The 9th US. case of coronavirus was confirmed in California.

• The first death outside China was a 44 year old Chinese man from Wuhan who was admitted to the Philippines hospital on January 25 with fever, cough, and sore throat. He developed severe pneumonia but in the last few days “was stable and showed signs of improvement.” But the man’s condition deteriorated and he died on Saturday.

• China shut down Wenzhou, a city of 9 million, as it closed roads and restricted the movement of residents. The city is 800 kilometres away from Wuhan. The Zhejiang province, where Wenzhou is located, has the highest number of confirmed cases outside the Hubei province.

• Nearly 60 million people are under lockdown in Chinese cities as international researchers race to develop a vaccine and halt its spread.

Russia has suspended all international rail services between Russia and China. The halt includes services operated by Chinese rail companies. Russian travellers are being told that cancelled trains booked and issued at Russian points of sale, can be returned without incurring any charges or fees.

• A group of Pakistani students studying at Wuhan University are appealing to the Pakistan government to be evacuated.

“We have been getting reports that the spread of this virus is going to double up in the coming 10 days and that the current weather is going to be favourable for a further spread of the virus. There is a panicked situation and we are appealing to the Pakistani government, please take us to a safe location.”

“Anywhere in China, we have very little children with us. They are compromised, they are more susceptible to the disease. We are only getting verbal help from the embassy, no physical help. I’d just like to add that we are willing to pay for our own expenses to get out of here but please for God’s sake get us out of here. Please.” – Mohammad Adnan Shireen

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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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