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Live updates: Coronavirus cases surge again in China; more than 1,700 medical workers infected Live updates: Coronavirus cases surge again in China; more than 1,700 medical workers infected
(about 1 hour later)
China again reported a big jump in coronavirus cases Friday after changing its methodology for diagnosing and counting infections, denting hopes that the deadly outbreak could be petering out.China again reported a big jump in coronavirus cases Friday after changing its methodology for diagnosing and counting infections, denting hopes that the deadly outbreak could be petering out.
With another 5,000 reported Friday, the number of cases in mainland China has now surged past 63,000, and the economic fallout is mounting. The latest casualties are flower sellers in the country, some of whom have seen their sales fall up to 95 percent on Valentine’s Day.With another 5,000 reported Friday, the number of cases in mainland China has now surged past 63,000, and the economic fallout is mounting. The latest casualties are flower sellers in the country, some of whom have seen their sales fall up to 95 percent on Valentine’s Day.
More places in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, are enacting “wartime” measures, such as sealing off residential complexes and allowing only essential vehicles on the roads. Authorities in Yunmeng county, where the new steps kicked in Friday morning, said that anyone attempting to breach the lockdown “at compounds, buildings or road connections” would be detained.More places in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, are enacting “wartime” measures, such as sealing off residential complexes and allowing only essential vehicles on the roads. Authorities in Yunmeng county, where the new steps kicked in Friday morning, said that anyone attempting to breach the lockdown “at compounds, buildings or road connections” would be detained.
Here are the latest developments:Here are the latest developments:
● More cities in Hubei province are putting in place “wartime” measures, barring citizens from leaving their homes and threatening penalties for anyone who breaches the orders.● More cities in Hubei province are putting in place “wartime” measures, barring citizens from leaving their homes and threatening penalties for anyone who breaches the orders.
● Singapore’s leader warned of a possible recession as the virus and travel curbs slam the regional economy. The country confirmed nine new cases Friday.● Singapore’s leader warned of a possible recession as the virus and travel curbs slam the regional economy. The country confirmed nine new cases Friday.
● Japan has said that 10 people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship are in serious condition, as the cruise industry braces for serious losses over coronavirus fears.● Japan has said that 10 people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship are in serious condition, as the cruise industry braces for serious losses over coronavirus fears.
● China’s National Health Commission said more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected with coronavirus, six of whom have died, citing the latest available figures as of Feb. 11. ● China’s National Health Commission said more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected with coronavirus, six of whom have died, citing the latest available figures as of Tuesday.
As China announced that the coronavirus has spread significantly among its health-care workers, the first health-care worker known to have become part of the outbreak in Singapore told reporters that he was “just unlucky.”
Singapore announced nine new coronavirus cases Friday, including that of a 61-year-old general anesthesiologist. The doctor is case 59 out of 67 total infections and the first health-care professional known to have contracted the coronavirus.
In an interview with Singapore’s Straits Times, the unnamed doctor said Friday that as recently as Feb. 6, he was well and working in the operating theater. After coming down with a fever, he went to a hospital on Feb. 9 and was told he had coronavirus Thursday morning.
He told the newspaper that he had not traveled to China for more than a year and that he had no known interactions with cases of coronavirus.
“I am just unlucky. That’s all I can say,” he told the Straits Times.
Asked how he could have come into contact with the coronavirus, he said, “I don’t know. No idea at all.”
China’s president, Xi Jinping, on Friday called for improvements in the country’s health-care system, citing the need for better medical insurance for major diseases, according to state media.
“Noting that combating coronavirus is a big test for the country’s governance system and governance ability, he stressed the need to strengthen areas of weakness and close loopholes exposed by the current epidemic,” China Global Television Network reported, paraphrasing Xi.
Friday’s statement, and others like it on coronavirus, appeared to be a move by Xi to indicate that China is taking the outbreak seriously, despite criticism that it initially stifled reports of a new virus.
Xi called for other changes in Chinese health laws, signaling that the problem was one of applying policies rather than political reforms, for which his government has suppressed demand.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore announced Friday that it was suspending public masses as a cluster of coronavirus infections linked to the Grace Assembly of God church, a non-Catholic congregation, continues to rise.The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore announced Friday that it was suspending public masses as a cluster of coronavirus infections linked to the Grace Assembly of God church, a non-Catholic congregation, continues to rise.
The temporary ban goes into effect on Saturday. In a statement, the church acknowledged the move was by no means “fool-proof” in containing the virus, but necessary nonetheless.The temporary ban goes into effect on Saturday. In a statement, the church acknowledged the move was by no means “fool-proof” in containing the virus, but necessary nonetheless.
“As Catholics, we need to be responsible in playing our part to contain the spread of this virus by avoiding large gatherings of people,” the archdiocese said in the statement posted to its Facebook page. “Hence, given the current escalating situation which is proving to be difficult to contain, all public Masses, both on weekdays and weekends will be suspended indefinitely.”“As Catholics, we need to be responsible in playing our part to contain the spread of this virus by avoiding large gatherings of people,” the archdiocese said in the statement posted to its Facebook page. “Hence, given the current escalating situation which is proving to be difficult to contain, all public Masses, both on weekdays and weekends will be suspended indefinitely.”
It will instead broadcast Mass for followers to watch virtually.It will instead broadcast Mass for followers to watch virtually.
“The cancellation of Masses does not mean that Catholics can excuse themselves from fulfilling the obligation of keeping the Day of the Lord holy,” the statement continued. “They should try to follow the broadcast of the Mass on YouTube or CatholicSG Radio. … You can also gather as a family for the Liturgy of the Word by spending time in prayer, reading the Word of God of the Sunday Liturgy and interceding for the world that this Covid-19 virus will be contained and eradicated.”“The cancellation of Masses does not mean that Catholics can excuse themselves from fulfilling the obligation of keeping the Day of the Lord holy,” the statement continued. “They should try to follow the broadcast of the Mass on YouTube or CatholicSG Radio. … You can also gather as a family for the Liturgy of the Word by spending time in prayer, reading the Word of God of the Sunday Liturgy and interceding for the world that this Covid-19 virus will be contained and eradicated.”
On Friday, Singapore announced nine new coronavirus cases, six of which it linked to the Grace Assembly of God church, which has now suspended all services and activities for two weeks, Singapore’s the Straits Times reported.On Friday, Singapore announced nine new coronavirus cases, six of which it linked to the Grace Assembly of God church, which has now suspended all services and activities for two weeks, Singapore’s the Straits Times reported.
MANILA — The Philippines said Friday it would end its controversial travel ban on visitors from Taiwan, which was in effect for less than a week.MANILA — The Philippines said Friday it would end its controversial travel ban on visitors from Taiwan, which was in effect for less than a week.
“The lifting of travel restrictions for Taiwan has been agreed,” said presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo.“The lifting of travel restrictions for Taiwan has been agreed,” said presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo.
The announcement walked back a previous statement Thursday that the ban would remain in place. It came after reports that Taiwan would consider revoking visa-free travel for Filipinos as a result.The announcement walked back a previous statement Thursday that the ban would remain in place. It came after reports that Taiwan would consider revoking visa-free travel for Filipinos as a result.
The Philippines implemented the ban covering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao last week. Amid conflicting statements from officials, Manila did not clearly communicate the inclusion of Taiwan until Monday night, resulting in more than 80 Taiwanese people being denied entry to the Philippines and more than 500 stranded across the country.The Philippines implemented the ban covering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao last week. Amid conflicting statements from officials, Manila did not clearly communicate the inclusion of Taiwan until Monday night, resulting in more than 80 Taiwanese people being denied entry to the Philippines and more than 500 stranded across the country.
Panelo said the government would also reevaluate the inclusion in the ban of other jurisdictions, including Macao, after reviewing security protocols meant to contain the virus.Panelo said the government would also reevaluate the inclusion in the ban of other jurisdictions, including Macao, after reviewing security protocols meant to contain the virus.
Government agencies cited the “one China” policy as the basis for the inclusion of Taiwan. Critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte see the measure as a move to curry favor with China, which views Taiwan as a rogue province.Government agencies cited the “one China” policy as the basis for the inclusion of Taiwan. Critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte see the measure as a move to curry favor with China, which views Taiwan as a rogue province.
Taiwan contested its inclusion under the ban, stressing in a statement that it was a “sovereign and independent state” with its own passports. It also said that the World Health Organization’s classification of it as part of China was a “factual error.”Taiwan contested its inclusion under the ban, stressing in a statement that it was a “sovereign and independent state” with its own passports. It also said that the World Health Organization’s classification of it as part of China was a “factual error.”
“No other countries in Asia, except the Philippines, have issued [a] travel ban on Taiwan,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office said in an earlier statement.“No other countries in Asia, except the Philippines, have issued [a] travel ban on Taiwan,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office said in an earlier statement.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The second-biggest Ebola outbreak in history, which has upended life in eastern Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces since August 2018, infecting nearly 3,500 people and killing about 2,250, is down to its last chain of transmission.ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The second-biggest Ebola outbreak in history, which has upended life in eastern Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces since August 2018, infecting nearly 3,500 people and killing about 2,250, is down to its last chain of transmission.
Despite ongoing violence that has hampered the response from its outset, and that has spiked again recently, new cases have dwindled. At the virus’s height in May, hundreds were contracting the disease every week.Despite ongoing violence that has hampered the response from its outset, and that has spiked again recently, new cases have dwindled. At the virus’s height in May, hundreds were contracting the disease every week.
The waning of the Ebola outbreak comes as a new one captures global attention — and, potentially, funding as well. Global health officials have warned that while the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, now known as covid-19, racks up thousands of new cases a day, the hard work of ending the Ebola outbreak and preventing another is far from over.The waning of the Ebola outbreak comes as a new one captures global attention — and, potentially, funding as well. Global health officials have warned that while the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, now known as covid-19, racks up thousands of new cases a day, the hard work of ending the Ebola outbreak and preventing another is far from over.
“Funding needs [for the Ebola response] have not as yet been fully met, and currently there is a risk there will not be funding for WHO activities beyond February,” said Margaret Harris, a World Health Organization spokeswoman.“Funding needs [for the Ebola response] have not as yet been fully met, and currently there is a risk there will not be funding for WHO activities beyond February,” said Margaret Harris, a World Health Organization spokeswoman.
Ebola and covid-19 are vastly different viruses; Ebola can be transmitted only through exchange of bodily fluids, but it killed nearly 70 percent of those who contracted it in eastern Congo.Ebola and covid-19 are vastly different viruses; Ebola can be transmitted only through exchange of bodily fluids, but it killed nearly 70 percent of those who contracted it in eastern Congo.
The WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Thursday that covid-19 “might have adverse consequences for the [Ebola] response efforts through diminishing focus” on it.The WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Thursday that covid-19 “might have adverse consequences for the [Ebola] response efforts through diminishing focus” on it.
While the WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a constellation of nonprofits and the Congolese Health Ministry have mounted a relentless campaign to contain Ebola, little has been done to shore up the region’s health system, which is sorely lacking in even the most basic infrastructure. Ebola is endemic to Congo’s rainforest, and the likelihood of future outbreaks is high.While the WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a constellation of nonprofits and the Congolese Health Ministry have mounted a relentless campaign to contain Ebola, little has been done to shore up the region’s health system, which is sorely lacking in even the most basic infrastructure. Ebola is endemic to Congo’s rainforest, and the likelihood of future outbreaks is high.
Read more here:Read more here:
Singapore confirmed nine new coronavirus cases Friday, linking six of the patients to a church at the center of the country’s biggest cluster of infections.Singapore confirmed nine new coronavirus cases Friday, linking six of the patients to a church at the center of the country’s biggest cluster of infections.
Thirteen people total with ties to the Grace Assembly of God church have tested positive for the virus since Tuesday. In total, 67 people in Singapore have contracted the illness, known as covid-19, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Health.Thirteen people total with ties to the Grace Assembly of God church have tested positive for the virus since Tuesday. In total, 67 people in Singapore have contracted the illness, known as covid-19, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Health.
The Health Ministry’s director of medical services, Kenneth Mak, told Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper that investigations were still unfolding around the spread of infections connected to the church.The Health Ministry’s director of medical services, Kenneth Mak, told Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper that investigations were still unfolding around the spread of infections connected to the church.
“We have not identified a single individual to be a super spreader,” he said.“We have not identified a single individual to be a super spreader,” he said.
In Britain, one man who traveled from Singapore to France to Switzerland and then back home to England was later identified as a “superspreader,” a term used to describe someone with an outsize role in transmitting an infection. British authorities believe he contracted the coronavirus while in Singapore for a sales conference held at a hotel.In Britain, one man who traveled from Singapore to France to Switzerland and then back home to England was later identified as a “superspreader,” a term used to describe someone with an outsize role in transmitting an infection. British authorities believe he contracted the coronavirus while in Singapore for a sales conference held at a hotel.
HONG KONG — The Hong Kong government is hoping to soften the blow of the coronavirus outbreak on its hard-hit sectors, setting aside a multibillion-dollar relief package for tourism-related businesses, restaurants and other vulnerable and affected groups.HONG KONG — The Hong Kong government is hoping to soften the blow of the coronavirus outbreak on its hard-hit sectors, setting aside a multibillion-dollar relief package for tourism-related businesses, restaurants and other vulnerable and affected groups.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced Friday that she will ask the legislative council to approve doubling a fund set aside for the outbreak to $3.2 billion, hoping to use this money to subsidize restaurants, tour operators and other affected industries. The plan calls for direct subsidies to incentivize firms to make surgical masks, as well as financial assistance to the elderly, hawkers and retailers.Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced Friday that she will ask the legislative council to approve doubling a fund set aside for the outbreak to $3.2 billion, hoping to use this money to subsidize restaurants, tour operators and other affected industries. The plan calls for direct subsidies to incentivize firms to make surgical masks, as well as financial assistance to the elderly, hawkers and retailers.
Subsidies will also be extended to residents who had been allocated units in two public housing estates earmarked as quarantine sites, Lam added. Each household will receive a single payment of $770.Subsidies will also be extended to residents who had been allocated units in two public housing estates earmarked as quarantine sites, Lam added. Each household will receive a single payment of $770.
“We urge all lawmakers to support the funding,” she said.“We urge all lawmakers to support the funding,” she said.
Meanwhile, three new coronavirus cases have been confirmed, bringing the total in Hong Kong to 56.Meanwhile, three new coronavirus cases have been confirmed, bringing the total in Hong Kong to 56.
The city’s economic minister said Friday that the government has also requested consent from the Hong Kong Disneyland Park to create more quarantine camps on land originally zoned for the park’s expansion, if cases spike.The city’s economic minister said Friday that the government has also requested consent from the Hong Kong Disneyland Park to create more quarantine camps on land originally zoned for the park’s expansion, if cases spike.
YOKOHAMA, Japan — The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has been advised by the World Health Organization that there was “no case” to cancel or relocate the Tokyo 2020 Olympics over the coronavirus outbreak.YOKOHAMA, Japan — The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has been advised by the World Health Organization that there was “no case” to cancel or relocate the Tokyo 2020 Olympics over the coronavirus outbreak.
A day after Japan reported its first death from the new coronavirus, John Coates, the head of the IOC’s Coordination Commission, said he continued to expect the Games to go ahead as planned.A day after Japan reported its first death from the new coronavirus, John Coates, the head of the IOC’s Coordination Commission, said he continued to expect the Games to go ahead as planned.
Advice from the WHO was that “there is no case for any contingency plans of canceling the Games or moving the Games,” Coates said, according to Reuters.Advice from the WHO was that “there is no case for any contingency plans of canceling the Games or moving the Games,” Coates said, according to Reuters.
The coronavirus epidemic has already caused several international sporting events to be canceled or postponed, including the Shanghai Grand Prix, while Olympic qualifying events in soccer, badminton and basketball had to be moved out of China.The coronavirus epidemic has already caused several international sporting events to be canceled or postponed, including the Shanghai Grand Prix, while Olympic qualifying events in soccer, badminton and basketball had to be moved out of China.
Coates said coordination between the Japan organizing committee’s virus task force and other national authorities reinforced the IOC’s confidence that the situation was being properly addressed, Reuters reported.Coates said coordination between the Japan organizing committee’s virus task force and other national authorities reinforced the IOC’s confidence that the situation was being properly addressed, Reuters reported.
That raised expectations that “we’ll be able to ensure that the Games go ahead in a way that’s safe for the athletes and spectators,” Coates told a news conference in Tokyo.That raised expectations that “we’ll be able to ensure that the Games go ahead in a way that’s safe for the athletes and spectators,” Coates told a news conference in Tokyo.
Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said last week he was “seriously worried” that the virus might affect momentum toward the Games, but he pledged the following day the event would go ahead as planned Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said last week he was “seriously worried” that the virus might affect momentum toward the Games, but he pledged the following day the event would go ahead as planned
Thailand’s tourism officials are pushing for visa-free entry for Chinese citizens, the Bangkok Post reported, hoping to kickstart a tourism sector that is suffering heavy losses over the coronavirus outbreak. Thailand’s tourism officials are pushing for visa-free entry for Chinese citizens, the Bangkok Post reported, hoping to kick-start a tourism sector that is suffering heavy losses over the coronavirus outbreak.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, quoted in the report, said the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Thailand fell about 87 percent in the first nine days of February compared with a year earlier and is likely to drop about 90 percent overall this month. International tourist arrivals overall have dropped by about 43 percent, he added.Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, quoted in the report, said the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Thailand fell about 87 percent in the first nine days of February compared with a year earlier and is likely to drop about 90 percent overall this month. International tourist arrivals overall have dropped by about 43 percent, he added.
Thailand’s government is now eyeing a revival in April, hoping that infections will level off by then and that Chinese authorities will lift a travel ban by late March. Tourism officials hope to submit the visa-free proposal for Chinese tourists in April, on the condition that the outbreak is managed and under control.Thailand’s government is now eyeing a revival in April, hoping that infections will level off by then and that Chinese authorities will lift a travel ban by late March. Tourism officials hope to submit the visa-free proposal for Chinese tourists in April, on the condition that the outbreak is managed and under control.
Southeast Asia is reeling from the loss of billions of dollars in tourism receipts from mainland Chinese arrivals, who cannot come because of the lockdowns in place across a swath of China and travel restrictions imposed by individual countries. In Thailand, the government expects a loss of $8 billion, roughly 1.5 percent of gross domestic product.Southeast Asia is reeling from the loss of billions of dollars in tourism receipts from mainland Chinese arrivals, who cannot come because of the lockdowns in place across a swath of China and travel restrictions imposed by individual countries. In Thailand, the government expects a loss of $8 billion, roughly 1.5 percent of gross domestic product.
BEIJING — This season looks grim for the thousands of vendors at China’s largest flower trading center, Kunming Dounan market, which sells billions of freshly cut flowers a year and accounts for almost three-quarters of flower transactions in China.BEIJING — This season looks grim for the thousands of vendors at China’s largest flower trading center, Kunming Dounan market, which sells billions of freshly cut flowers a year and accounts for almost three-quarters of flower transactions in China.
“Roses were thrown away in huge piles,” a wholesaler, who identified himself only as Hu, told the 21st Century Business Herald on Friday.“Roses were thrown away in huge piles,” a wholesaler, who identified himself only as Hu, told the 21st Century Business Herald on Friday.
A retailer, identified only as Zhang, said traffic-control measures due to the coronavirus outbreak have cut off supplies from some flower-growing villages in Yunnan and hindered the transportation of fresh flowers to other parts of China.A retailer, identified only as Zhang, said traffic-control measures due to the coronavirus outbreak have cut off supplies from some flower-growing villages in Yunnan and hindered the transportation of fresh flowers to other parts of China.
“I only hope I can go back to work as soon as possible,” Zhang said, adding that Valentine’s Day normally accounts for 20 to 30 percent of annual sales.“I only hope I can go back to work as soon as possible,” Zhang said, adding that Valentine’s Day normally accounts for 20 to 30 percent of annual sales.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the coronavirus outbreak has seriously affected the city-state’s economy, which could slide into recession over the coming quarters.Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the coronavirus outbreak has seriously affected the city-state’s economy, which could slide into recession over the coming quarters.
Quoting the prime minister on a visit to Singapore’s airport, the Straits Times reported that the coronavirus has already hit the economy harder than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, which lasted about five months.Quoting the prime minister on a visit to Singapore’s airport, the Straits Times reported that the coronavirus has already hit the economy harder than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, which lasted about five months.
“It’s already much more than SARS, and the economies of the region are much more interlinked together. China, particularly, is a much bigger factor in the region,” Lee said.“It’s already much more than SARS, and the economies of the region are much more interlinked together. China, particularly, is a much bigger factor in the region,” Lee said.
Singapore has 58 confirmed cases, among the highest tallies globally. Taiwan, South Korea and others have added Singapore to their lists of travel advisories, urging citizens to refrain from visiting. Singapore. meanwhile, has also barred all arrivals from mainland China to minimize the risk of further outbreaks. The government is bracing for a serious impact on tourism, estimating that arrivals will drop by 25 to 30 percent.Singapore has 58 confirmed cases, among the highest tallies globally. Taiwan, South Korea and others have added Singapore to their lists of travel advisories, urging citizens to refrain from visiting. Singapore. meanwhile, has also barred all arrivals from mainland China to minimize the risk of further outbreaks. The government is bracing for a serious impact on tourism, estimating that arrivals will drop by 25 to 30 percent.
“I can’t say whether we will have a recession or not,” Lee said, according to the Straits Times. “It’s possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit.”“I can’t say whether we will have a recession or not,” Lee said, according to the Straits Times. “It’s possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit.”
TOKYO — Japan reported another four cases of the new coronavirus Friday, adding to four cases announced the previous day and bringing the national total to 36, as fears rise that the country could be facing its own outbreak of the disease.TOKYO — Japan reported another four cases of the new coronavirus Friday, adding to four cases announced the previous day and bringing the national total to 36, as fears rise that the country could be facing its own outbreak of the disease.
One of the most worrying cases announced Thursday was a doctor in the eastern prefecture of Wakayama. On Feb. 7, a former patient at the hospital, a male farmer in his 70s, was found to have the virus. One other doctor and one other patient were also showing some pneumonia-like symptoms and awaiting test results.One of the most worrying cases announced Thursday was a doctor in the eastern prefecture of Wakayama. On Feb. 7, a former patient at the hospital, a male farmer in his 70s, was found to have the virus. One other doctor and one other patient were also showing some pneumonia-like symptoms and awaiting test results.
A case was also confirmed in the southwestern island of Okinawa, the last port of call of the cruise ship Diamond Princess before it was placed in quarantine in Yokohama last week. A female taxi driver in her 60s found to have the virus was among 200 people who had been under monitoring in Okinawa because they had been in contact with passengers from then ship during their 9.5-hour stay.A case was also confirmed in the southwestern island of Okinawa, the last port of call of the cruise ship Diamond Princess before it was placed in quarantine in Yokohama last week. A female taxi driver in her 60s found to have the virus was among 200 people who had been under monitoring in Okinawa because they had been in contact with passengers from then ship during their 9.5-hour stay.
The other two cases were found in Tokyo, both in people believed to have been in contact with a taxi driver diagnosed with the virus on Thursday, Japanese media reported. The driver said he had carried Chinese passengers.The other two cases were found in Tokyo, both in people believed to have been in contact with a taxi driver diagnosed with the virus on Thursday, Japanese media reported. The driver said he had carried Chinese passengers.
Japan’s government vowed to step up testing for the virus on Friday, but health minister Katsunobu Kato tried to play down concerns. Japan’s government vowed to step up testing for the virus on Friday, but Health Minister Katsunobu Kato tried to play down concerns.
“We do not have sufficient evidence to change our current position that the outbreak is not widespread,” he said, according to broadcaster NHK. “Yet we cannot deny it has spread. We are preparing for that situation so we would be ready if we get into that situation.”“We do not have sufficient evidence to change our current position that the outbreak is not widespread,” he said, according to broadcaster NHK. “Yet we cannot deny it has spread. We are preparing for that situation so we would be ready if we get into that situation.”
Masahiro Kami, executive director at the Medical Governance Research Institute in Tokyo, said the fight against the virus is entering a new phase in Japan.Masahiro Kami, executive director at the Medical Governance Research Institute in Tokyo, said the fight against the virus is entering a new phase in Japan.
“The public has now come to be aware that an outbreak is spreading within Japan,” he said.“The public has now come to be aware that an outbreak is spreading within Japan,” he said.
Kami said the virus had already been spreading undetected for some time — evidenced by the fact that a Thai couple were found to have the virus after returning from a visit to Japan. He added that the case of the doctor in Wakayama was a potentially serious problem.Kami said the virus had already been spreading undetected for some time — evidenced by the fact that a Thai couple were found to have the virus after returning from a visit to Japan. He added that the case of the doctor in Wakayama was a potentially serious problem.
“Doctors and other medical staff, if they get infected, have a possibility that they may transmit the infection to patients where they are hospitalized,” he said. “And these are the people who are most vulnerable to the risk of death. This is an issue to which we have to give the highest attention now.”“Doctors and other medical staff, if they get infected, have a possibility that they may transmit the infection to patients where they are hospitalized,” he said. “And these are the people who are most vulnerable to the risk of death. This is an issue to which we have to give the highest attention now.”
Authorities have found a factory in Hanoi using toilet paper to produce face masks, the Vietnam Express reported, cutting corners as coronavirus fears fuel rising demand for supplies of protective items.Authorities have found a factory in Hanoi using toilet paper to produce face masks, the Vietnam Express reported, cutting corners as coronavirus fears fuel rising demand for supplies of protective items.
Officials this week were suspicious when they found dozens of large toilet paper rolls at the factory, the outlet reported, and discovered that they were being used to replace the inner antibacterial layer that stops microbes from entering or exiting the surgical mask.Officials this week were suspicious when they found dozens of large toilet paper rolls at the factory, the outlet reported, and discovered that they were being used to replace the inner antibacterial layer that stops microbes from entering or exiting the surgical mask.
“This company is cheating consumers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak,” said Hoang Dai Nghia from the Hanoi Market Surveillance Department. The company’s stock has been confiscated, and authorities are now considering appropriate penalties.“This company is cheating consumers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak,” said Hoang Dai Nghia from the Hanoi Market Surveillance Department. The company’s stock has been confiscated, and authorities are now considering appropriate penalties.
According to the Vietnam Express, the company, Viet Han Company, is not listed as a medical equipment producer, but as a printer and napkin maker.According to the Vietnam Express, the company, Viet Han Company, is not listed as a medical equipment producer, but as a printer and napkin maker.
The World Health Organization has warned of a global shortage of surgical masks as customers, particularly in Asia, rush to protect themselves against the spread of the virus. Many factories are now trying to pivot and produce these items, but counterfeits have also flooded the market, with false trademarks and false details on where the masks originated from.The World Health Organization has warned of a global shortage of surgical masks as customers, particularly in Asia, rush to protect themselves against the spread of the virus. Many factories are now trying to pivot and produce these items, but counterfeits have also flooded the market, with false trademarks and false details on where the masks originated from.
BEIJING — China’s National Health Commission said Friday that at least 1,716 medical staff have contractracted coronavirus, and six have died. BEIJING — China’s National Health Commission said Friday that at least 1,716 medical staff have contracted coronavirus, and six have died.
Zeng Yixin, the vice director of the National Health Commission, was citing the latest figures available as of Feb. 11. Of these cases, 1,502 were reported in Hubei province. The health commission said that the illness will be identified as an occupation injury for medical workers, who will be covered by insurance. Zeng Yixin, the vice director of the National Health Commission, was citing the latest figures available as of Tuesday. Of these cases, 1,502 were reported in Hubei province. The health commission said that the illness will be identified as an occupation injury for medical workers, who will be covered by insurance.
The most sensitive of these cases is the death of Li Wenliang, the whistleblower doctor who is considered the first to sound the alarm about the new virus when he leaked a document on Dec. 30 from his hospital, confirming the diagnosis. When he succumbed from the disease, grief and rage filled social media, as the country saw his death as a parable for the Communist Party’s failings.The most sensitive of these cases is the death of Li Wenliang, the whistleblower doctor who is considered the first to sound the alarm about the new virus when he leaked a document on Dec. 30 from his hospital, confirming the diagnosis. When he succumbed from the disease, grief and rage filled social media, as the country saw his death as a parable for the Communist Party’s failings.
Read more: Chinese doctor who tried to raise alarm on coronavirus in Wuhan dies on ‘front line’ of medical fight.Read more: Chinese doctor who tried to raise alarm on coronavirus in Wuhan dies on ‘front line’ of medical fight.
BEIJING — Chinese authorities in Nanjing have asked residents in the city of 8 million and returning workers to register their personal information on an app, as officials turn away travelers and other short-term visitors.BEIJING — Chinese authorities in Nanjing have asked residents in the city of 8 million and returning workers to register their personal information on an app, as officials turn away travelers and other short-term visitors.
In a notice issued late Thursday, the Nanjing city government asked returning residents and migrant workers based there to register on an app called “Ning Guilai” — a pun which can either mean Nanjing Returns or Peace Returns. The app requires a facial scan to confirm that all identification information is accurate. In a notice issued late Thursday, the Nanjing city government asked returning residents and migrant workers based there to register on an app called “Ning Guilai” — a pun that can either mean Nanjing Returns or Peace Returns. The app requires a facial scan to confirm that all identification information is accurate.
“Your travel could be affected if we find the information you filled in to be inaccurate; more importantly, it will leave a dark spot in your personal credit record,” the Nanjing government’s notice read, also warning of potential “legal liabilities.”“Your travel could be affected if we find the information you filled in to be inaccurate; more importantly, it will leave a dark spot in your personal credit record,” the Nanjing government’s notice read, also warning of potential “legal liabilities.”
The app also specified that only those with a permanent residence and workplace in Nanjing, and who are not from the epicenter of the outbreak, Hubei province, are free to travel into the city. Short-term visitors and travelers without a permanent residence or long-term job in Nanjing must postpone trips there, the city government said.The app also specified that only those with a permanent residence and workplace in Nanjing, and who are not from the epicenter of the outbreak, Hubei province, are free to travel into the city. Short-term visitors and travelers without a permanent residence or long-term job in Nanjing must postpone trips there, the city government said.
Shanghai has similarly relied on apps to track arrivals, announcing on Feb. 1 that visitors coming in from airports, train stations and toll gates would have to register their personal information on a smartphone app called Healthcare Cloud. The app was originally designed for making hospital appointments and other health services, but now includes a separate section that requires users to register their detailed personal information, including their ID, home and Shanghai addresses, phone number, emergency contact, and travel itinerary. Shanghai has similarly relied on apps to track arrivals, announcing on Feb. 1 that visitors coming in from airports, train stations and toll gates would have to register their personal information on a smartphone app called Healthcare Cloud. The app was originally designed for making hospital appointments and other health services, but now includes a separate section that requires users to register their detailed personal information, including their ID, home and Shanghai addresses, phone number, emergency contact and travel itinerary.
Yunnan province this week also launched a WeChat in-app program, Kang Yiqing or “Fighting the Epidemic,” that requires residents to register their personal information by scanning a QR code when entering a public venue — including residential areas, farmers markets, shopping malls, supermarkets and subway stations.Yunnan province this week also launched a WeChat in-app program, Kang Yiqing or “Fighting the Epidemic,” that requires residents to register their personal information by scanning a QR code when entering a public venue — including residential areas, farmers markets, shopping malls, supermarkets and subway stations.
“For those who refuse to cooperate, public venue management has the right to ban them from entering or exiting. Those who try to force into public venues without registration, disturb public order, or cause serious consequences, will be held accountable according to law,” Yunnan authorities said.“For those who refuse to cooperate, public venue management has the right to ban them from entering or exiting. Those who try to force into public venues without registration, disturb public order, or cause serious consequences, will be held accountable according to law,” Yunnan authorities said.
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Japan’s health ministry said on Friday that 10 people evacuated from the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess are in serious condition, with eight confirmed to have the new coronavirus.YOKOHAMA, Japan — Japan’s health ministry said on Friday that 10 people evacuated from the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess are in serious condition, with eight confirmed to have the new coronavirus.
One of the other two is still awaiting results of a test.One of the other two is still awaiting results of a test.
Amid persistent criticism of its approach, the government said it would start allowing some people who have tested negative for the virus to disembark from the ship early, and finish their quarantine at a facility on land. Priority will be given to passengers over the age of 80 and those with existing medical problems, as well as people in windowless cabins, health minister Katsunobu Kato said. Amid persistent criticism of its approach, the government said it would start allowing some people who have tested negative for the virus to disembark from the ship early, and finish their quarantine at a facility on land. Priority will be given to passengers over the age of 80 and those with existing medical problems, as well as people in windowless cabins, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said.
So far, 218 people on board the ship have tested positive for the virus, out of 713 people who have been assessed. The government says it plans to step up testing in a bid to examine everyone on board before the quarantine ends on Feb. 19.So far, 218 people on board the ship have tested positive for the virus, out of 713 people who have been assessed. The government says it plans to step up testing in a bid to examine everyone on board before the quarantine ends on Feb. 19.
A quarantine officer involved in screening passengers for the virus also fell sick, with the health ministry saying he did not follow proper procedures, wiping away sweat with his gloves and reusing a mask he had worn earlier, NHK reported.A quarantine officer involved in screening passengers for the virus also fell sick, with the health ministry saying he did not follow proper procedures, wiping away sweat with his gloves and reusing a mask he had worn earlier, NHK reported.
Read more about the conditions on board the Diamond Princess: Japan relaxes cruise ship quarantine for elderly amid fears of virus spread.Read more about the conditions on board the Diamond Princess: Japan relaxes cruise ship quarantine for elderly amid fears of virus spread.
BEIJING — Forget red roses. Broccoli, cauliflower, masks and hand sanitizer are now the way to prove you love your partner this Valentine’s Day in China, according to Meituan, the country’s largest on-demand services provider.BEIJING — Forget red roses. Broccoli, cauliflower, masks and hand sanitizer are now the way to prove you love your partner this Valentine’s Day in China, according to Meituan, the country’s largest on-demand services provider.
Flower delivery platforms are reporting a massive drop in online flower sales, as health fears dissuade people from ordering anything online or picking up deliveries. Zhong’ai Flower, an online flower delivery platform based in Wuhan, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak, reported a sales drop of 90 percent. Ma Yingzi, a flower supplier in Beijing, also estimated a 95 percent drop in flower sales this Valentine’s Day.Flower delivery platforms are reporting a massive drop in online flower sales, as health fears dissuade people from ordering anything online or picking up deliveries. Zhong’ai Flower, an online flower delivery platform based in Wuhan, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak, reported a sales drop of 90 percent. Ma Yingzi, a flower supplier in Beijing, also estimated a 95 percent drop in flower sales this Valentine’s Day.
The new favorites: broccoli and cauliflower. Meituan said roses are no longer its most ordered items on this day of love, while the vegetables instead have become hot items. Broccoli in Chinese contains the word “flower” in its name, making it a popular gift in lieu of actual flowers, with more nutrients to boot.The new favorites: broccoli and cauliflower. Meituan said roses are no longer its most ordered items on this day of love, while the vegetables instead have become hot items. Broccoli in Chinese contains the word “flower” in its name, making it a popular gift in lieu of actual flowers, with more nutrients to boot.
And instead of chocolate, others are opting for more practical gifts. Meituan’s sales data show that gift orders still grew by 30 percent on Feb. 14, but the most-searched present options were masks, goggles and disinfectants. Others are opting for more practical gifts instead of chocolate. Meituan’s sales data show that gift orders still grew by 30 percent on Friday, but the most-searched present options were masks, goggles and disinfectants.
Singapore’s education ministry has launched a new song — “Bye Bye Virus” — featuring a cast of virus-fighting superheroes in the hopes of teaching schoolchildren best-practice hygiene measures to fend off the outbreak. " Singapore’s education ministry has launched a new song — “Bye Bye Virus” — featuring a cast of virus-fighting superheroes in the hopes of teaching schoolchildren best-practice hygiene measures to fend off the outbreak.
It even comes with a dance.It even comes with a dance.
Singapore Ministry of EducationSingapore Ministry of Education
The lyrics replicate advice that has been doled out by the government in recent weeks, but in rhymes: “Wear a mask if you’re falling sick / go see a doctor, don’t be so thick.” The chorus is simply “coronavirus go away, don’t you stay.”The lyrics replicate advice that has been doled out by the government in recent weeks, but in rhymes: “Wear a mask if you’re falling sick / go see a doctor, don’t be so thick.” The chorus is simply “coronavirus go away, don’t you stay.”
The cast of superhero characters, like Mask Up Mei Mei and Wipe Down Wilson, all provide specific tips on mask wearing, hand washing and remind students to avoid touching their faces. The cast of superhero characters, like Mask Up Mei Mei and Wipe Down Wilson, all provide specific tips on mask-wearing and hand-washing, and they remind students to avoid touching their faces.
Experts have praised Singapore’s transparency and proactive measures in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The city-state has 58 confirmed cases, one of the highest of any country, but health experts say has been more proactive about weeding out confirmed cases and tracking down clusters of infection. Experts have praised Singapore’s transparency and proactive measures in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The city-state has 58 confirmed cases, one of the highest of any country, but health experts say it has been more proactive about weeding out confirmed cases and tracking down clusters of infection.
Unlike Hong Kong, which has a similar number of infections and a similar population, schools in Singapore have not closed and lessons have continued largely as usual. Only interschool activities have been canceled. Singapore has been focusing its public education efforts on schools and the young, who are vulnerable to the spread of diseases. Unlike Hong Kong, which has a similar number of infections and a similar population, Singapore has not closed schools, and lessons have continued largely as usual. Only interschool activities have been canceled. Singapore has been focusing its public education efforts on schools and the young, who are vulnerable to the spread of diseases.
BEIJING — Hubei’s most densely populated county became the latest to implement “wartime measures” to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, effectively barring residents from leaving their homes.BEIJING — Hubei’s most densely populated county became the latest to implement “wartime measures” to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, effectively barring residents from leaving their homes.
The Yunmeng Public Security Bureau said on its official WeChat account that these measures would take effect Friday. All residential complexes have been sealed off and only essential vehicles will be allowed on the roads.The Yunmeng Public Security Bureau said on its official WeChat account that these measures would take effect Friday. All residential complexes have been sealed off and only essential vehicles will be allowed on the roads.
“Anyone who forces their way out of compounds, buildings or road connections will be detained,” Yunmeng authorities said.“Anyone who forces their way out of compounds, buildings or road connections will be detained,” Yunmeng authorities said.
Neighborhood communities are required to assign staff to help residents buy daily necessities. The county has over 300 confirmed coronavirus infections, and has a population of about half a million people.Neighborhood communities are required to assign staff to help residents buy daily necessities. The county has over 300 confirmed coronavirus infections, and has a population of about half a million people.
The orders will be in place for about two weeks, according to Chinese state media.The orders will be in place for about two weeks, according to Chinese state media.
Experts have questioned the effectiveness of these lockdowns and the legality of applying “wartime” controls in this public health emergency.Experts have questioned the effectiveness of these lockdowns and the legality of applying “wartime” controls in this public health emergency.