Coronavirus updates: WHO warns of 'very grave' global virus threat, 1st vaccine in 18 months
13 min read.Updated: 12 Feb 2020, 01:54 PM ISTDeepak Upadhyay
( with inputs from Agencies )
China's daily death toll from topped 100 for the first time. There were 42,638 new confirmed cases today, bringing the total number so far to 43,112
Britain declares the coronavirus a 'serious and imminent threat to public health', infected people to be detained, forcibly quarantined
The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has killed over 1,018 people, eclipsing the death toll from the global outbreak of SARS that started in China almost two decades ago. Across mainland China, there were 42,638 new confirmed infections on Tuesday, bringing the total accumulated number so far to 43,112. Hubei reported 2,097 new infections, the smallest daily increase since 1 February.
The 2002-2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, killed 774 people and sickened almost 8,100 others, in 26 countries, over eight months, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Mainland China accounted for about 45% of SARS deaths.
Nearly 43,112 conformed cases have been reported in 27 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins university’s real time tracker of the disease, which has been declared a global health emergency by the WHO.
India has tested at least 1,622 samples till Monday, of which 654 were from the quarantine centres set up for the individuals evacuated from Wuhan.
Here are all the latest updates of deadly coronavirus:
China's virus crisis hits global flows of letters, parcels
Postal operators in the United States, China and elsewhere say the suspension of flights to slow the spread of a deadly new virus is having a major impact on global flows of letters and parcels.
In a note seen by The Associated Press, the United States Postal Service informed its counterparts around the world on Tuesday that it is “experiencing significant difficulties" in dispatching letters, parcels and express mail to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, “because most of its supplier airlines have suspended their flights" to those destinations.
As a consequence and “starting immediately," USPS said it can no longer accept items destined for China, Hong Kong and Macao “until sufficient transport capacity becomes available."
Likewise, in another, separate note seen by the AP, Singapore Post told its global counterparts that it is no longer accepting letters, parcels and express mail items destined for China, “until sufficient transport capacity becomes available."
The notes were shared with postal services around the world via the Universal Postal Union, a United Nations agency headquartered in Switzerland that is a main forum for postal cooperation between its 192 member countries.
World must consider coronavirus 'public enemy number one': WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) asked countries to be "as aggressive as possible" in fighting the deadly coronavirus
"If the world doesn't want to wake up and consider the virus as public enemy number one, I don't think we will will learn from our lessons," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.
"...We are still in containment strategy and should not allow the virus to have a space to have local transmission."
First vaccine against coronavirus could be ready in 18 months: WHO chief
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom said the first vaccine (against coronavirus Covid-19) could be ready in 18 months, so we have to do everything today using available weapons to fight this virus.
WHO chief urged the world to unite efforts on coronavirus to avoid "far more cases and far higher costs."
He said the virus had been named COVID-19, explaining that it was important to avoid stigma and that other names could be inaccurate.
Novel coronavirus named 'Covid-19': WHO
The WHO today said "Covid-19" would be the new official name for the deadly coronavirus that was first identified in China on 31 December, AFP reported.
"We now have a name for the disease and it's Covid-19," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, explaining that "co" stood for "corona", "vi" for "virus" and "d" for "disease".
First quarantined American evacuees to be released
A first group of Americans who were quarantined after being repatriated from the center of the outbreak in China are expected to be released Tuesday, Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press conference today.
Health workers are doing final checks to make sure none of the people are showing symptoms.
The US has been putting those evaluated from the outbreak into quarantines of at least 14 days, part of a broad set of measures to stop potential spread of the virus by returning Americans and their family members. A first group of about 200 Americans was repatriated last month, and the US has been running quarantine centers at military bases.
Switch off ACs and keep windows, doors open for fresh air to cut virus risk
According to Tan Chorh Chuan, Chief Health Scientist in Singapore, people should switch off air-conditioner and breath fresh air to reduce the chances of infection. The likelihood of survival of virus outdoors was lower, Chuan added.
While many unknowns remain about coronavirus, earlier studies suggest that it thrived in cool, dry climates, reports The Strait Times.
Pointing to several research on survival of viruses after the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in 2003, he said, "Most studies indicated they don't survive in hot (over 30 degree C), humid environments (humidity levels of over 80%)."
World Bank not considering new China loans to fight coronavirus
The World Bank is offering technical assistance to China to help battle the coronavirus epidemic but no new health loans, the development lender's president, David Malpass, said today, Reuters reported.
Malpass said the bank was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to aid China, including offering advice about past health crises, but did not plan any financial assistance because China has ample resources of its own.
"My thought is that we all wish them a speedy way to address the coronavirus in China," he said in an interview on Monday. "We’ve offered technical assistance in the area of health, sanitation and disease policies."
US authorizes Hong Kong staff to leave over deadly virus
The United States today said it had authorized consulate staff to leave Hong Kong as concerns spread over the coronavirus that originated in mainland China.
Non-essential staff and their family members will be allowed, but not required, to leave the metropolis "out of an abundance of caution related to uncertainties" on the coronavirus, a State Department spokesperson said.
Prevention, control work having positive results, says Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping said China's prevention and control work on the new coronavirus is having positive results, and the country will win the battle against the virus, state media reported.
China the country will complete all economic and social targets that have been set earlier and will be more prosperous after the battle against the virus is won, the report cited Xi as saying.
Airbus to restart production in Tianjin
European planemaker says it has been authorized by Chinese authorities to restart operations at its final-assembly line in Tianjin, Bloomberg reported.
The company said this will allow it to gradually increase production “while implementing all required health and safety measures for Airbus employees."
Airbus had said Wednesday the assembly line was closed following government advice. The Tianjin plant produces about six narrow-body aircraft per month, or about 10% of Airbus’s total narrow-body output.
Robot with coronavirus advice hits New York's Times Square
Researchers at Imperial College London said their ultimate goal was to have an effective and safe way of halting the SARS-like strain's spread by the end of the year.
"At the moment we have just put the vaccine that we've generated from these bacteria into mice," Imperial College London researcher Paul McKay told AFP in an interview on Monday.
"We're hoping that over the next few weeks we'll be able to determine the response that we can see in those mice, in their blood, their antibody response to the coronavirus."
185 Canadian evacuees from Wuhan lands at Trenton
A second plane carrying 185 Canadian evacuees from the coronavirus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan has landed at an air-force base in Trenton, Ontario, CBC news reported today
Last week, 176 Canadian citizens and permanent residents were evacuated from Wuhan to an Ontario air-force base on a flight chartered by the Canadian government, while another 39 Canadian evacuees were flown out of China on an American flight.
A 14-day quarantine period for the evacuees flown to the military base in Trenton, Ont. has been imposed. The Canadian government has also told citizens not to travel to Hubei province and to avoid all non-essential travel to China.
Coronavirus outbreak may be over in China by April, says expert
In an interview with Reuters, Zhong Nanshan, an 83-year-old epidemiologist who won fame for combating the SARS epidemic in 2003, shed tears about the doctor Li Wenliang who died last week after being reprimanded for raising the alarm.
But Zhong was optimistic the new outbreak would soon slow, with the number of new cases already declining in some places.
The peak should come in the middle or late February, followed by a plateau and decrease, Zhong said, basing the forecast on mathematical modelling, recent events and government action.
"I hope this outbreak or this event may be over in something like April," he said in a hospital run by Guangzhou Medical University, where 11 coronavirus patients were being treated.
Coronavirus emergency 'holds a very grave threat' for world: WHO
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was addressing the start of a two-day meeting aimed at accelerating development of drugs, diagnostics and vaccines against the flu-like virus amid growing concerns about its ability to spread.
"With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world," he told more than 400 researchers and national authorities, including some taking part by video conference from mainland China and Taiwan.
Scientists develop realtime interactive map to scan global spread
The map updates every few hours with data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO), Chinese and other government agencies, including those in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
"Mapping is a powerful tool to tell social, cultural and political phenomena," said Bo Zhao, an assistant professor at the University of Washington in the US.
China's daily death toll from virus tops 100 for first time
China's daily death toll from a new virus topped 100 for the first time and pushed the total past 1,000 dead, authorities said Tuesday after leader Xi Jinping visited a health center to rally public morale amid little sign the contagion is abating, reported AP.
The National Health Commission said in its daily update 108 deaths had been reported over the previous 24 hours, increasing the total to 1,016 deaths in mainland China since the illnesses began appearing in December.
UK calls virus 'serious' health threat, will detain people
Britain has declared the new coronavirus that emerged from China a 'serious and imminent threat to public health' and announced new measures to combat the spread of the disease.
The UK Department of Health and Social Care said people with the virus can now be forcibly quarantined and will not be free to leave. It named two British specialist hospitals in London as isolation facilities for those affected: Guy’s and St. Thomas’ and The Royal Free. It also designated the Chinese city of Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province where the virus first emerged as a 'infected area.'
It said the number of virus cases in Britain has doubled to eight, with the four new cases reported on Monday all known contacts of an earlier UK case, a person who was infected in France.
China may delay US farm purchase target
The coronavirus outbreak may delay the implementation of US farm good purchases as part of the phase one trade deal, but they will likely be fulfilled by the end of the year, according to China’s agriculture ministry outlook committee.
Two Japan evacuees get virus after first testing negative
Two Japanese men who were evacuated from Wuhan late last month have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after initially being cleared of the deadly disease, the health ministry said.
The cases bring total infections in Japan to 28, excluding 135 on a cruise ship under quarantine in Yokohama. Both men had tested negative on Jan. 30 after they returned from the Chinese city on a government-chartered flight.
China asks farmers to wear masks while planting
China is asking its farmers to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the virus while urging them not to miss the spring planting season.
The agriculture ministry issued a notice on Monday advising farmers to wash hands and wear masks, but still prepare for planting. It also asked local villages not to block roads to ensure the timely arrival and transport of seeds, pesticides and other farming equipment.
Virus likely cost China’s retail and food sectors billions
The outbreak of coronavirus may have cost China’s retail and food service sectors billions of dollars in sales during the Lunar New Year week, according to a leading food and agricultural bank.
Revenue lost in both retail and food services during the Lunar New Year week could range from 20% to 80%, representing a fall of $31 billion to $124 billion, as major chains shuttered stores across the country, Rabobank said in a report.
China home sales plunge due to virus
Home sales in China have been dealt a huge blow by the spreading coronavirus, with figures showing transactions plunged in the first week of February. New apartment sales dropped 90% from the same period of 2019, according to preliminary data on 36 cities compiled by China Merchants Securities Co. Sales of existing homes plummeted 91% in eight cities where data is available.
US CDC confirms 13th case in the US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed another case of coronavirus in California, bringing the number in the US to 13.
The latest patient is in San Diego, and was among citizens evacuated from Wuhan to the US and under quarantine. The CDC said it is conducting an investigation to determine the patient’s contacts and assess if they had high risk exposure.
Hong Kong won’t enact mask laws
Hong Kong authorities have no plans to enact laws regulating the city’s supply of surgical masks, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters at a weekly briefing.
Lam has faced criticism from the public in recent days as a mask shortage sent people scrambling to form long lines at pharmacies, while residents distrustful of her administration after months of pro-democracy protests staged a run on toilet paper. She urged Hong Kongers to reduce their number of social interactions as the city works to ward off a wider outbreak.
Lam said the government wasn’t calling for compulsory closures, “because Hong Kong is a free society" and business operators were already taking strong precautionary measures.
China death roll at 1,016
The death toll in China from the coronavirus rose to 1,016, with the addition of 108 fatalities for 10 February, according to the National Health Commission. Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak, reported 103 more deaths, its highest daily count so far.
While the total confirmed cases in mainland China climbed to 42,638, Hubei reported 2,097 new infections, the smallest daily increase since Feb. 1.
Two additional deaths have occurred outside of mainland China: one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.