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Coronavirus UPDATE: WHO fights the ‘infodemic’, recession fears in Europe

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE: WHO fights the ‘infodemic’, recession fears in Europe | The Thaiger
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A total number of 67,100 cases of Coronavirus (covid-2019) have now been confirmed worldwide, along with 1,526 deaths reported and 8,193 people recovered. The number of reported full recoveries is now over 5 times the rate of reported deaths, and continues to rise each day.

The infodemic…

On top of the spread of the virus, there has been increasingly dangerous spread of what the World Health Organisation describes as an ‘infodemic’ – fake news and fuzzy maths – where people are posting all sorts of fear-mongering and random claims which are not based on science or the actual situation. Now the WHO is urging tech companies to take tougher action to battle the infodemic about the coronavirus. This week representatives from the WHO travelled to Silicon Valley (the Californian home to many of the big tech HQs) to speak directly to executives about the spread of false information.

The digital business solutions manager for the WHO, Andrew Pattison, says that false information was “spreading faster than the virus”.

“Bogus claims that the virus was spread by eating bat soup or could be cured by garlic have already swept the web.

Books on the disease, hastily cobbled together to cash in on the concerns over the outbreak, have been popping up for sale on e-retailers. But often clicking on these searches for info is met with a barrage of ads offering bogus cures, face masks and ‘vitamin C boosters’ – Vitamin C is already listed as one of the fake cures for coronavirus (or any virus for that matter).

Social media companies have already taken some steps to remove bogus claims and inaccurate fuzzy maths predictions, as well as actively promote accurate information from reputable sources.

“Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and TikTok are already directing users that search for coronavirus on their sites to the WHO or local health organisations.”

In other coronavirus news from around the world today…

Recession fears are again in the European news after Germany’s economy flatlined at the end of 2019. The coronavirus outbreak now threatens to further dampen exports to China. The German economy showed zero growth over the final three months of 2019, setting up Europe’s largest economy for a difficult 2020, at the time it was predicted to begin experiencing positive growth.

The situation makes Europe especially vulnerable to the looming hit from the coronavirus outbreak. For the UK, recently dropped out of the EU, the situation could be even more hazardous as it tries to establish new trading partnerships.

Yesterday it was revealed that 1,716 healthcare workers in mainland China were infected by the coronavirus, six have died. The revelations from China’s National Health Commission . Nearly 90% (87.5%) of those clinicians were from Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital.

A Russian woman, who escaped from a hospital quarantine ward for novel coronavirus, will now face a lawsuit filed by heath authorities for endangering the public. Alla Ilyina travelled back from China on January 31 and was under observation at the Botkin Hospital for Infection Diseases in St. Petersburg.

The woman fled the hospital without permission by “short-circuiting the electronic lock on the door to her ward”, according to St. Petersburg’s chief sanitary physician. Last Thursday was actually the end of Ilyina’s mandatory 14 day quarantine period, and her lawyer says that his client “had the right to return home”.

China remains the ‘hotzone’ for coronavirus as we head into the 2nd half of February, about seven weeks into the outbreak. Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong have the next largest identified case loads in the world. Epidemiologists note that the growth in cases continues to be linear rather than exponential, giving them hope that there will soon be a “flattening” of the graph in cases, and deaths.

“Coronavirus cases are not rising dramatically outside China despite a statistical spike in Hubei province on one day this week”, according to a WHO spokesperson.

“The only exception was on a cruise liner docked in Japan, where 44 new cases were reported, bringing the total there to 218. There was also no major shift in the coronavirus’s pattern of mortality or severity.”

The ‘Diamond Princess’ remains in quarantine in Yokohama Bay, Japan. Not all the 3,700 people on board have been tested yet – people confirmed with the virus are taken to hospitals on land to be treated, while those on board are largely confined to their cabins, according to APF. But Japanese health authorities are now permitting those aged 80 or over, who have tested negative for the coronavirus, to disembark.

“… but they would have to stay in accommodation provided by the government until further notice.”

Coronavirus UPDATE: WHO fights the 'infodemic', recession fears in Europe | News by The ThaigerCoronavirus UPDATE: WHO fights the 'infodemic', recession fears in Europe | News by The Thaiger

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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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Coronavirus

Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korea tops 156 cases, Ukrainians attack evacuee bus

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korea tops 156 cases, Ukrainians attack evacuee bus | The Thaiger

The total number of infected worldwide cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) stands at over 76,735. At least 2,247 people are now dead from the virus, with all but 11 of those deaths in mainland China. 18,561 people are now registered as ‘recovered’ from the virus. The fatality rate still sits around 2%.

• There has been a sharp spike in new cases of the virus in South Korea according to the country’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 52 new cases have been diagnosed in just one day, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 156.

Among the new cases, nearly 40 are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southern city of Daegu. Authorities are now attempting to test the entire congregation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone yesterday, agreeing to share information about the two countries’ clinical treatment experiences.

President Xi told Moon that “the Chinese people has broken away from the initial fear and are seeing the prospect and hope of overcoming the infectious disease.”

• Dozens of protesters in a Ukraine town have mobbed buses carrying evacuees from coronavirus-hit China. The evacuees were being brought to a hospital in the central Poltava region, where they will be quarantine for 14 days.

Many residents fear the virus could spread through the town, which has a population of about 10,000. Earlier yesterday, 45 Ukrainians and 27 foreign nationals were flown from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the deadly outbreak, to eastern Ukraine. Six buses then drove them to the hospital in Novi Sanzhary, where they were met by demonstrators lighting bonfires and hurling stones.

The country’s health ministry says none of the passengers were sick, whilst the Ukraine PM has issued statements trying to calm the panic in the town.

Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korea tops 156 cases, Ukrainians attack evacuee bus | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Protesters in the Ukraine react violently to the arrival of a bus load log evacuees from China

• 11 people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, marooned in Yokohama Bay, and flown out by US authorities on February 17, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 13 of the US evacuees were taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Centre for testing. All but two tested positive.

Ten of the evacuees taken to UNMC remain in a quarantine unit, while three others are in a state Bio-containment unit, according to the release.

• Meanwhile, 2 passengers from Australia, also evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. 164 evacuees from the cruise ship arrived at the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility yesterday to begin a 14 day quarantine period.

6 passengers were identified to have minor respiratory symptoms or fevers and were moved into isolation and tested. 2 tested positive for the virus.

Australia now has 17 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with 11 people registered as “recovered”.

• In further scientific research, the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads mostly through respiratory droplets and contact with infected patients. But new research suggests that it can also spread through feces.

There are currently more cases of coronavirus than would be expected if the virus were spreading only through respiratory droplets and contact with infected patients. The report was published February 15 by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previous tests have found that the coronavirus can be present in faeces, but it was unclear if the virus would be ‘viable’ and able to spread to another person, according to a previous Live Science report. So, a group of researchers analysed stool samples from patients with coronavirus.

According to the Live Sciencewebsite, they isolated the coronavirus from one patient who had severe pneumonia and examined the virus under an electron microscope. They found that the coronavirus was viable.

“This means that stool samples may contaminate hands, food, water, etc. People who use the bathroom and then don’t wash their hands could spread the virus to others, for instance.”

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