Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme warns against the assumption that the virus would just disappear on its own. PHOTO: AFP
GENEVA (XINHUA) – There is no evidence right now to suggest that the new coronavirus will disappear in summer, a senior expert with the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday (March 6), urging countries to fight Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, decisively at the current stage.
“We do not know yet what the activity or behaviour of the virus will be in different climatic conditions,” Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, told a daily briefing, warning against the assumption that the virus would just disappear on its own in the summertime like influenza.
“We have to assume the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread,” he said.
Besides, Dr Ryan stressed that the disease can emerge anywhere on the planet. For instance, Ebola very often emerged in Africa, while the last pandemic influenza H1N1 emerged in North America.
He called on countries and societies to avoid “blame culture” and to do all the things needed to save lives.
WHO WARNS ABOUT LONG LIST OF COUNTRIES NOT DOING ENOUGH
A global mask crisis is brewing as the coronavirus spreads
SINGAPORE – The simple surgical mask has become such a precious commodity that some have likened it to gold.
Across the globe, nations are scrambling to amass supplies of masks amid the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic – even as medical authorities continue to assert that people do not need to don them unless they are unwell, and that wearing them might even give a false sense of security.
It may come to that but for now, the spread is not so rapid and cases not high in most places
Covid-19 infections can now be found in more than 50 countries around the world. In just over two months since the coronavirus emerged, about 87,000 people have been infected and close to 3,000 have died.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the global risk assessment level to “very high”.
Associate Editor Ravi Velloor writes this would put additional pressure on Mr Abe with his government already facing criticism as the number of infections surpass 1,000, with 12 people dead. There are also questions about whether Japan will be able to host the Olympics as per original schedule.
Here’s a look at changes to some other key events because of the coronavirus spread:
SHANGHAI- More than 40 rescued after China quarantine hotel collapses, says state media
SHANGHAI (AFP, REUTERS) – More than 40 people have been rescued following the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China on Saturday (March 7), state media reported.
Officials said around 70 people were initially trapped when the Quanzhou Xinjia Hotel first crumbled.
BEIJING- Video shows Wuhan residents decrying ‘it’s all fake’ as Chinese official tours city
The clips show occupants of an apartment block in the city of Wuhan yelling “it’s all fake” from windows during an official neighbourhood inspection by a top Chinese official.PHOTO: GLOBAL TIMES/TWITTER
BEIJING (AFP) – Videos showing residents at the centre of China’s coronavirus epidemic haranguing a top Chinese official have highlighted persistent anger at how the authorities have handled the crisis.
The clips, which have been circulating online since Thursday (March 5), show occupants of an apartment block in the city of Wuhan yelling “it’s all fake” from windows during an official neighbourhood inspection by Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan.
According to Chinese media, the complaints were an outcry against the community’s property management, who were allegedly only pretending to have volunteers deliver vegetables and meat to inhabitants of the towers in the locked-down city.
Surprisingly, China’s censors, usually quick to scrub any criticism of government officials, have allowed the home-made videos to remain on Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like social media platform. But the central government appears to be seizing on the videos to craft a narrative that Beijing is listening to the demands of its people and that the local authorities are to blame for the mistakes.
PHNOM PENH- All schools in Siem Reap city ordered to close temporally
Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered to temporally close all schools in Siem Reap city in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 after the second case was confirmed today, said Health Minister Mam Bunheng.
Mr Bunheng said all schools in Siem Reap city will be closed around 14 days or longer, noting that people are not suggested to gather crowded areas.
PHNOM PENH- Cambodia confirms second case of Covid-19
Cambodia has today confirmed the second case of coronavirus on a man who was among the four who came in direct contact with a 40-year-old Japanese national, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week.
Speaking at a press conference today, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said a patient is a Cambodian man, 38, whose identify has not been revealed, and he was tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Bunheng said three others had been tested negative for Covid-19 but noted that authorities quarantined them at Siem Reap provincial referral hospital for 14 days in order to monitor and observe their health.
PHNOM PENH- Passengers, crew from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Japan flight, quarantined after contact with Japanese patient with COVID-19
All passengers, crew and staff who had contact with a Japanese passenger who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on Vietnam Airlines’ VN340 flight have been put into quarantine, the Vietnamese Health Ministry has reported.
On March 3, the Japanese passenger had boarded Vietnam Airlines flight VN814 with 72 others from Cambodia’s Siem Reap to HCM City, then took a transit flight VN340 to Japan’s Nagoya City.
After landing in Japan, the Japanese passenger showed symptoms of fever and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
JAKARTA- Indonesia Uncovers Two New Coronavirus Cases With Help From Intelligence Agents
Achmad Yurianto, the spokesperson for Indonesia’s novel coronavirus task force, gives an update on the country’s effort to contain the Covid-19 outbreak on Friday. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A.)
Jakarta. Indonesia announced two new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, four days after the announcement of the first two cases, bringing the total number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in Southeast Asia’s most populous country to four.
The two new patients were linked to Patient 1 who hosted a dance party at Amigos Restaurant in Kemang, South Jakarta, on Feb. 14.
Local health authorities now believed a Japanese national, who also attended the party and was later identified as Patient 24 in Malaysia, was the source of the novel coronavirus infection on that day.
MANILA- State of emergency: Virus cases in PH hit 6
Francisco Duque and Rabindra Abeyasinghe —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will declare a state of public health emergency after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the local transmission of the virus that causes the COVID-19 acute respiratory disease, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Saturday.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recommended the measure after health authorities said that another Filipino, the third in the country, was found positive for COVID-19, bringing to six the total number of confirmed cases in the Philippines.
The President agreed to the recommendation to help authorities better respond to the COVID 19 cases in the country, according to Panelo.
MANILA / -LUCENA CITY – New suspected COVID-19 carrier recorded in Quezon
LUCENA CITY – The health authorities in Quezon province announced that a new suspected carrier of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) classified as patient under investigation (PUI) was recorded on Saturday.
In a public advisory at 5 p.m. Saturday, the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) said the new PUI is confined in an undisclosed hospital in the province and is being attended to by the Department of Health (DOH) and IPHO medical staff while awaiting the result of the specimen tests from the national reference laboratory.
The PUIs are those who recently traveled to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and other countries with confirmed COVID-19 cases who have consulted doctors due to coughs, cold, or fever after they returned home.
BANGKOK, Thailand- 60 back from S Korea quarantined in Sattahip
Up to 80 others who arrived on same flight ordered to join 14-day quarantine at naval facility
Thai workers arrive at a reception centre of the Royal Thai Navy in Sattahip district of Chon Buri in the early hours of Sunday for a 14-day quarantine. (Royal Thai Navy photo)
A group of 60 Thais — 27 men and 33 women — who returned from South Korea on Saturday night have been lodged at a naval reception facility in Sattahip district of Chon Buri for a 14-day quarantine as a measure to stem the coronavirus spread.
Up to 80 other Thais who arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on a flight from South Korea on Saturday were being sought by authorities to join the quarantine.
HÀ NỘI — Two more people connected to patient 17, a 27-year-old woman in Hà Nội who returned from a trip in Europe, had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, according to Government sources. This brings the total of cases to 20 in Việt Nam.
Disinfectants are sprayed on Trúc Bạch Street, Hà Nội on Saturday morning. —VNA/VNS Photo
As more are being tested or being put under quarantine, the figure will likely go up in the next few days.
Earlier, a man returning from the Republic of Korea (RoK) was confirmed to be the eighteenth person in Việt Nam infected with SARS-CoV-2, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday.
HÀ NỘI —Twenty-five in contact with COVID-19 patient test negative for virus
HÀ NỘI — Twenty five out of 33 people in close contact with Hà Nội’s first COVID-19 patient have tested negative for the virus, according to the latest reports from the municipal Department of Health at an urgent meeting on Saturday morning.
The remaining eight, including the patient’s driver and uncle, have also been tested by the municipal Department of Health. The results of these tests have not yet been confirmed.
HÀ NỘI —Compulsory e-health declaration for all passengers entering Việt Nam
Health officers check body temperatures of visitors at Cần Thơ International Airport. — Photo cdccantho.vn
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister and head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control Vũ Đức Dam on March 6 ordered compulsory electronic health declarations for all passengers entering Vietnam starting from 6:00am on March 7.
GLOBAL STOCK SELL-OFF ROLLS TO ASIA ON RISING CORONAVIRUS FEARS
Asian shares fell today following another Wall Street rout as fears of further disruptions to business continued to spread, stoking fears of a prolonged world economic slowdown. Japan’s Nikkei stock index sank 2.8 per cent, while South Korea’s Kospi index tumbled 2.3 per cent.
This came on a day the Asian Development Bank announced that the outbreak is set to impact global growth rate. The Bank said the impact of the coronavirus could slash global gross domestic product by 0.1 to 0.4 per cent. In China, economic growth could be trimmed by 0.3 to 1.7 per cent while in developing Asia, excluding China, it could be slashed by 0.2 to 0.5 per cent.
PYONGYANG- North Korea ends quarantine of some foreigners in virus move
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said yesterday it released about 220 foreigners from a quarantine imposed as part of its vigilant prevention efforts to avoid an outbreak of the coronavirus that spread around the world. The country has not publicly disclosed any cases of COVID-19, but outsiders are skeptical it escaped the virus that erupted in its neighbour and closest ally China and has infected more than 98,000 people globally.
SEOUL- South Korea reports 334 new coronavirus cases, postpones military drill with US troops
SEOUL (REUTERS) – South Korea reported 334 additional cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday (Feb 27), the largest daily increase yet, as the US State Department issued a new travel warning for South Korea and a joint military drill was postponed.
The new cases bring the total tally to 1,595, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
The daily figure is the largest reported spike in the country since its first case was confirmed on Jan 20. South Korea also reported its 13th death linked to the virus.
The US commander in the country agreed to postpone the training after a request by South Korea’s chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
SEOUL- Two apartment buildings in South Korea quarantined over virus
An aerial view shows closed apartment buildings after 46 residents were confirmed to have the COVID-19, in Daegu, South Korea. PHOTO: AFP
SEOUL (AFP) – Two South Korean apartment buildings heavily occupied by members of a sect linked to most of the country’s coronavirus cases have been quarantined after dozens of residents tested positive for the disease, an official said yesterday.
The move comes as the country, which has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world outside China, reported 448 new infections, taking its total to 7,041.
KUWAIT CITY- Kuwait nag-isyu ng travel ban sa Pinas, 6 pa
Sa circular No.27 na inilabas ng Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), lahat ng flights papunta at palabas ng Kuwait International Airport ay pansamantalang suspendido sa mga bansang Pilipinas, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Syria, Lebanon at Egypt. AFP
MANILA, Philippines — Pansamantalang sinuspinde ng gobyerno ng Kuwait ang flights mula sa Pilipinas at sa anim na iba pang bansa.
Ito ay bilang precautionary measures para makontrol ang pagkalat ng bagong coronavirus disease o COVID-19.
TEHRAN- Iran warns it could use ‘force’ to halt travel amid virus
TEHRAN, IRAN (AP) — Iranian authorities warned they may use “force” to limit travel between cities and announced the new coronavirus has killed 124 people amid 4,747 confirmed cases in the Islamic Republic.
BRUSSELS- EU seeks united front to tackle medical shortages from virus
BRUSSELS (AP) – Fearing a possible shortage in masks and protective equipment to fight COVID-19, top European Union (EU) officials are urging members to put solidarity above national interests as the virus spreads quickly across the continent.
ROME- Italy poised to quarantine Milan, Venice and other regions as cases rise by more than 1,200
ROME (AFP, REUTERS) – Italy is set to impose a virtual lockdown on its wealthiest and most populous region, which includes the financial capital Milan, as part of tough new measures to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The new rules include telling people not to enter or leave Lombardy, which is home to some 10 million people, as well as 11 provinces in four of Italy’s 19 other regions, according to a draft decree seen by Reuters.
MILAN- Virus outbreak hits weakened Italian economy where it hurts
MILAN (AP) — The focal point of the coronavirus emergency in Europe, Italy, is also the region’s weakest economy and is taking an almighty hit as foreigners stop visiting its cultural treasures or buying its prized artisanal products, from fashion to food to design.
Europe’s third-largest economy has long been among the slowest growing in the region and is the one that is tallying the largest number of virus infections outside Asia.