China coronavirus deaths rise to 17, heightening global alarm | World Defense

China coronavirus deaths rise to 17, heightening global alarm

Falcon29

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China coronavirus deaths rise to 17, heightening global alarm

Deaths from China’s new virus rose to 17 on Wednesday with more than 540 cases confirmed, increasing fears of contagion from an infection suspected to originate from illegally-traded wildlife.

The previously unknown, flu-like coronavirus strain is believed to have emerged from an animal market in central Wuhan city, with cases now detected as far away as the United States.

Contrasting with its secrecy over the 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed nearly 800 people, China’s communist government has this time given regular updates to try to avoid panic as millions travel for the Lunar New Year.

“The rise in the mobility of the public has objectively increased the risk of the epidemic spreading,” National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) was meeting to rule if the outbreak was a global health emergency.

After official appeals to stay calm, many Chinese were cancelling trips, buying face masks, avoiding public places such as cinemas and shopping centres, and even turning to an online plague simulation game or watching disaster movie “The Flu” as a way to cope.

“The best way to conquer fear is to confront fear,” said one commentator on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

The virus has spread from Wuhan around China to population centres including Beijing, Shanghai, Macau and Hong Kong.

The latest death toll in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, rose from nine to 17 by midday on Wednesday, state television quoted the provincial government as saying.

Official newspaper China Daily said 544 cases had now been confirmed in the country. Abroad, Thailand has confirmed four cases, while the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan have each reported one.

President Donald Trump said the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a good containment plan. “We think it is going to be handled very well,” he said at Davos in Switzerland.

Respiratory threat

Li said the virus, which can cause pneumonia and has no effective vaccine, was being spread via breathing. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

“I believe the government for sure, but I still feel fearful. Because there’s no cure for the virus,” said Fu Ning, a 36-year-old woman in Beijing. “You have to rely on your immunity if you get an infection. It sounds very scary.”

Fears of a pandemic initially spooked markets, with aviation and luxury goods stocks hit and the yuan falling, but they regained their footing on Wednesday in approval of China’s containment response.

Across China, companies from Foxconn (2317.TW) to Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L) were warning staff to avoid Wuhan and handing out masks. Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Apple (AAPL.O) supplier Foxconn, said he was advising employees not to visit China.

With more than 11 million people, Wuhan is central China’s main industrial and commercial centre and an important transport hub, home to the country’s largest inland port and gateway to its giant Three Gorges hydroelectric dam.

Chinese officials believe wildlife trafficked at a market there was the source of the coronavirus.

Two sources said provincial and city officials in Wuhan had been ordered to remain in the city, while those who had already left were instructed to report their whereabouts.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said new cases would appear as China stepped up monitoring. But Li said there was no evidence of “super-spreaders” capable of disseminating the virus more widely, as happened during the SARS outbreak. SARS was thought to have crossed to humans from civet cats sold for food.

Global precautions

Airports round the world stepped up screening from China.

Russia said it had strengthened its sanitary and quarantine control, Britain said it would start enhanced monitoring of passengers from Wuhan, and Singapore started screening all passengers from China.

The Chinese-ruled gambling hub of Macau confirmed its first case of pneumonia linked to the coronavirus and tightened body-temperature screening measures.

A first case emerged in Hong Kong on Wednesday, media reported, with the patient arriving via high-speed railway from the mainland. “The whole world is watching,” the city’s commerce secretary, Edward Yau, told Reuters.

Mexico was investigating a potential case.

North Korea banned foreign tourists from Wednesday due to the virus, several foreign tour operators said, losing one of its main sources of foreign currency.
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Lieutenant

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Travel ban should be issued until the virus is contained. It is spreading so quickly now with many cases reported in countries around China. One case in the UK, two in the US, two in Vietnam, three in Saudi Arabia. Singapore and Macau just confirmed their first case.
 

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'This time I'm scared': experts fear too late for China virus lockdown
China's bid to contain a deadly new virus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, experts warn.

The contagious virus has already reached elsewhere in China and abroad, and even an authoritarian government has only a small timeframe in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say.

"I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention," said Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University.

China began its campaign on Thursday, cutting off all transport links out of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the coronavirus linked to SARS emerged late last year.

A cascading number of nearby cities has since been added to the travel blacklist, corralling more than 40 million people in a bid to stop those with the disease travelling and infecting others elsewhere.

However, with the death toll at 26 and infections being detected as far away as the United States, there are fears the exercise is too little too late.

Yi, who returned from Wuhan just before the lockdown, pointed out huge numbers of people would have already left ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Friday.

They could have been incubating the virus "on their way out of Wuhan", he said.

Symptoms could take several days to emerge -- effectively seeding a health time-bomb across the country and abroad.

- Escape plans -

Meanwhile, new gaps in the security web in Wuhan and its surroundings will likely emerge over coming days, even as China deploys its formidable security forces.

They are manning road blocks that have been set up, while train and plane services have been suspended.

"Especially people with money and connections, they're going to make a run for it... and they'll probably be successful," Zi Yang, a senior analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, told AFP.

University of Sydney associate professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, an expert in global health security, said only a "handful" of countries could conceivably pull off the mass quarantine.

He suggested the US was one of the few that may be able to mount a similar operation, using the National Guard, although it would face much stiffer opposition from a population accustomed to more civil liberties.

China's communist rulers draw on a deep well of public acquiesence -- partly due to control of the internet, no free press and a brutally efficient security apparatus.

"I can't imagine there would be too many countries that would be able to do something on this scale as quickly as China has done," Kamradt-Scott said.

Even so, Kamradt-Scott warned a lockdown that extends for a week or more would produce "growing levels of discontent and frustration".

"The Chinese authorities will be conscious of that, I'm sure, and they'll be monitoring it very closely to avoid the risk of any sort of social unrest," he said.

- Quarantine 'illusion' -

Kamradt-Scott said that, even though the virus would inevitably spread, the quarantine appeared designed to buy authorities time to put in place other measures.

He cited China's plans to build a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan in just 10 days.

Zi, from the S. Rajaratnam School, also said there was some hope the quarantines would have a level of success in containing the outbreak.

"I believe it is possible given China's expertise in this area of population control, or urban control," Zi said.

Yet the history of quarantine suggests controls will be far from watertight.

The concept emerged in Venice in the 14th century, where ships arriving at the city state from infected ports were held offshore for 40 days.

Over the centuries the US attempted quarantines to combat yellow fever, European nations tried to subdue cholera outbreaks, and several West African nations sealed off townships to hem in Ebola in the last decade.

Quarantine is "purely an illusion", said Bruno Halioua, a historian of medicine at the University of Paris IV.

"Quarantine has never worked. Each time, there have been problems."

And after seeing the situation in Wuhan first-hand, Guan Yi of Hong Kong University shared an equally pessimistic outlook.

"I've never felt scared," Guan said. "This time I'm scared."

burs-apj/kma/lth/kaf
 

Scorpion

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It's extremely out of hand now to contain the deadly virus. WHO still hesitant to call for international alert. They say it is early to do that.

What the fuck is wrong with Chinese people. What do you find tasty in snakes, bats, and monkeys!8-P
 

Falcon29

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It's extremely out of hand now to contain the deadly virus. WHO still hesitant to call for international alert. They say it is early to do that.

What the fuck is wrong with Chinese people. What do you find tasty in snakes, bats, and monkeys!8-P
I read that they eat such things because of a famine in the past where they didn't have much other options. Don't know if there is truth to that but I agree that at this point there is no need to resort to that and make it a cultural norm.

The death toll has increased to 81 it seems and now over 2500 cases reported.
 

Falcon29

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Coronavirus live updates: New cases in China surpass SARS epidemic as infections grow abroad; WHO calls for emergency committee meeting

The World Health Organization will reconvene its emergency committee Thursday to determine whether the coronavirus outbreak amounts to a public health emergency of international concern, as the total number of people infected in mainland China surpassed those infected with SARS during the 2002-2003 epidemic.

More than 6,000 cases have been confirmed in China, with thousands more suspected.

Experts say a vaccine for the virus is still a long way off. Schools in Beijing have closed indefinitely, and foreigners who have been evacuated from Wuhan, which is at the epicenter of the outbreak, are starting to arrive in their home countries or at temporary screening sites, including via charter flights for Japanese and U.S. citizens.

Many countries are curtailing flights to China, with American Airlines suspending several routes scheduled for February and March. British Airways and German carrier Lufthansa also suspended flights, as did airlines in India and Kazakhstan. Here’s what we know:

● The death toll has risen to 132 in China, with 6,078 confirmed cases of infection as of Wednesday evening local time — a day-over-day increase of more than 1,000. Other countries in the region also are reporting more people infected — nearly all of them tourists from China.

● At least 96 cases have been recorded outside of China, but three other countries have reported person-to-person transmission of the virus.

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Scorpion

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WHO declared an international emergency.
 

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In a strange move, pakistan resumes flights to and from China.
 

Scorpion

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very strange, I wonder if anyone is on them
What scares me the most is that Pakistan is a country of 200 million population. This is not good for Pakistan with this many people and a few medical facilities to take the risk.
 

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Yunmeng County in Hubei province announces "wartime" lockdown due to coronavirus, says residents who leave their home will be detained.

:oops:
 

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