China Changes Method of Counting Cases Again | China said it has again changed the method of counting patients with the novel coronavirus and will now include only those diagnosed by sophisticated laboratory testing. It is the second time in just eight days that the country has revised its criteria -- a move that could muddle statistics and complicate efforts to track the spread of the illness.
29 Foreign National Infected in China | Twenty-nine foreign nationals in China were infected with the novel coronavirus and 18 of them have recovered, a Chinese official said. Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, told the media in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, that 18 of the 27 patients have been discharged from hospitals. Nine are in quarantine and receiving treatment at hospitals, and two others died due to infection, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Ding as saying.
ITBP Staffers Honored | The Indo Tibetan Border Police honoured its doctors, paramedics, cooks and sanitation officials who served in a special quarantine centre set up here housing 406 people suspected to have been exposed to coronavirus, a spokesperson of the force said. These personnel helped in preparing a jawans' residential barrack into a quarantine centre within 48 hours and kept it running for over a fortnight, the spokesperson said.
Air India Extends Suspension of Flights | As Chinese authorities try to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, Air India announces that it is extending the suspension of its flights to the neighbouring country till June 30. Last month, the national carrier had suspended its six weekly Delhi-Shanghai flights from January 31 to February 14. However, it did not restart the flight operations from February 15 onwards.
Another 13 people on board a cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, the country's health ministry said on Thursday. Confirmation of the new cases, from 52 additional test results, brought the total number of infections diagnosed on board the Diamond Princess so far to 634, the ministry said in a statement.
More than 150 Australians arrived home to begin two weeks of quarantine after finally leaving a cruise ship docked in Japan on which more than 600 people had contracted a new coronavirus. Since Feb. 3, the Diamond Princess, owned by Carnival Corp, has been quarantined at Yokohama, south of the capital, Tokyo, with 220 Australian holidaymakers among the 3,700 aboard initially.
2 From Japan Cruise Ship Die | Two elderly coronavirus-infected passengers from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo have died and two more government officials have been infected, the Japanese government said, as more passengers disembarked after two weeks' quarantine. More than 620 of the passengers on the Diamond Princess liner have been infected on the ship, which has been quarantined since Feb. 3, initially with about 3,700 people on board.
Indian Infected on Virus-Japan Ship | One more Indian aboard a quarantined cruise ship off Japan was tested positive for the novel coronavirus and shifted to hospital, taking the number of Indian nationals infected with the virus on the vessel to eight, the Indian embassy said on Thursday. The Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on February 3 with 3,711 passengers and crew on board, 621 people were found to be infected.
China Stands by Expelling of WSJ Journos | A CNN report quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang as standing by China's decision to expel three Wall Street Journalists, even as US criticised the move. “We are not interested in the structural divide at the WSJ. There is only one media agency called the WSJ, and it must be responsible for what it has said and done," he said. (Image: Bloomberg)
First Death in South Korea | South Korea reported on Wednesday the first death in the country of a person infected with coronavirus and 22 new cases bringing the total to 104, reported Reuters. The exact cause of death is being investigated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
Coronavirus May Drag World GDP by 1% | The cascading effect of coronavirus epidemic might cause a drag of about a percentage point on global GDP growth, if the containment is delayed beyond June, according to a report by Dun & Bradstreet. The report says the outbreak of coronavirus is already having a considerable impact on the Chinese economy, and its implications will increase for global businesses with operations or suppliers in the region.
South Korea Reports 22 More Cases | A South Korean newspaper has reported that 22 more cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, in China. This brings the total number of cases to 104.
[Breaking] South Korea reports 22 more cases of novel coronavirus, total rises to 104 pic.twitter.com/QcWP9JBMKU— The Korea Herald (@TheKoreaHerald) February 20, 2020
Fugitive Malaysian Financier Spotted in Wuhan | A fugitive Malaysian financier wanted over a massive graft scandal has been spotted in the city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, police said, although it was unclear if he had left before Chinese authorities imposed a lockdown. Low Taek Jho is accused of playing a major role in plundering billions from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Antimalarial Drug Proves Effective on Virus | State-run news agency Xinhua news has stated that chinese experts have confirmed certain 'curative effects' of Chloroquine Phosphate, an antimalarial drug, on COVID-19, according to a Chinese official. The experts have "unanimously" suggested that the drug be included in the next version of the treatment guidelines and in wider clinical trials, says the report.
Chloroquine phosphate, a medicine that has been in the market for many years, has proven effective in treating #COVID19 and shows positive clinical effects: China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. pic.twitter.com/FZlHkYwTis— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) February 17, 2020
China Says Conspiracy Theories Hurting Efforts | An outbreak of disinformation in China and elsewhere has hurt global efforts to combat the new coronavirus, said the state-backed Wuhan Institute of Virology, located at the epicentre of the epidemic -- and at the heart of a number of conspiracy theories, reported Reuters. A British newspaper had yesterday published a report which states that the novel coronavirus originated in a Wuhan research facility.
UK to Evacuate Citizens from Japan-Virus Ship | British passengers will be evacuated from a cruise ship that had been quarantined for two weeks off the coast of Japan after hundreds of people on board fell ill with the coronavirus, reported Reuters. The repatriated passengers face another 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the UK after being stranded on the ship at a port near Tokyo.
Confirmed Cases Drop as China Changes Definition | The number of confirmed coronavirus cases dropped to 394 today, falling from 1,749 on Wednesday. It appears that this drop is because of partly because of a change in diagnostic criteria for patients in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. The latest government guidelines state that clinically diagnosed patients won't be counted, and only a case confirmed through a lab-test laboratory-test will be in the tally.
Trump Acknowledges 'China's Efforts' | US President Donald Trump is confident that China is "trying very hard" in its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, he said in a television interview late on Wednesday, reported Reuters. Well, I am confident that they are trying very hard," Trump said in an interview with Fox 10 Phoenix. "I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along."
China Cuts Loan Rates | China cut its benchmark lending rate today, as widely expected, as the authorities move to lower financing costs for businesses and support an economy jolted by a severe coronavirus outbreak, reported Reuters. The epidemic has upended global supply chains and caused widespread disruption to businesses and factory activity in China.
China SMEs May Fire 30% Employees | Chinese media house Global Times reported that small and medium-sized enterprises in China may lay-off 30% of their employees. "Contrary to a temporary labor shortage, mass layoffs may take place in a month or two. Some companies that can't restart operations may have already laid off staff," Zhou Dewen, deputy director of the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, told GT.
#China’s small- and medium-sized enterprises, #SMEs may lay off over 30% staff due to #coronavirus impact: Zhou Dewen, deputy director of the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises #COVID19 https://t.co/0ylieRYk4z pic.twitter.com/HPgIJlunM3— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) February 20, 2020
South Korea Tracks Outbreak to 'Patient 31' | South Korea traced 14 people involved in an outbreak to several church services in the central city of Daegu. Of the cases announced on Wednesday, 16 of them were tied to an earlier confirmed carrier; a 61-year-old woman known as "Patient 31". She had attended church services and sought care at a hospital before being tested for the virus. Now at least 15 people who attended religious services with her have tested positive.
Coronavirus May Become New Flu | A leading Chinese scientist has said that COVID-19, caused by a new strain of coronavirus, may become an established illness like the flu, reported the South China Morning Post. Wang Chen, president of the China Academy of Medical Science, said the world "should be prepared for the possibility that Covid-19 was here to stay." (Image:NEXU Science Communication/via Reuters)