A Grim Landmark as Official Death Toll in China Tops 1,000

The loss of life toll from the coronavirus epidemic is constant to climb, Chinese officers stated Tuesday.

The authorities put the nationwide determine at 1,016. That was up 108 from the day earlier than, when it was 908.

The variety of instances of an infection additionally grew, to over 42,638. The determine for the day earlier than was put at 40,171.

Deaths in Hubei drove the rise — there have been 103 — although the variety of infections reported there really declined considerably.

One of the folks evacuated from Wuhan to the United States final week is contaminated with the coronavirus, an American well being official confirmed.

The affected person, one in every of 167 passengers on a State Department-arranged flight from China that principally carried American residents, has been taken to a hospital close to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

It is the 13th confirmed case in the United States, and the seventh in California.

Other government-arranged evacuation planes from China have taken passengers — greater than 500 in all — to Nebraska, Texas and different bases in California in the final two weeks.

Those evacuated are anticipated to be quarantined for 14 days, with frequent checks from medical personnel to find out whether or not they have developed fevers, coughs and different early indicators of the virus.

Hong Kong officers evacuated some residents of an residence constructing after two folks residing on completely different flooring have been discovered to be contaminated with the coronavirus, the authorities stated early Tuesday.

Officials from the town’s Center for Health Protection stated the choice to partially evacuate the constructing was made after the invention of a leaky lavatory pipe in the residence of a newly confirmed affected person, a 62-year-old girl. She lives 10 ten flooring under a resident who was earlier discovered to be contaminated.

Dr. Wong Ka-Hing, the well being middle’s director, stated the federal government was investigating the potential of environmental transmission in the constructing and referred to as the evacuation a “precautionary measure.”

The preliminary report prompted comparisons to an incident in 2003 when 329 residents of a housing property in Hong Kong grew to become contaminated with SARS, or extreme acute respiratory syndrome. The virus was later discovered to have unfold by means of faulty piping. Forty-two of the contaminated residents died.

At a government-organized briefing on Tuesday, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a microbiologist on the University of Hong Kong, stated the state of affairs this time seemed to be completely different. But he stated the authorities weren’t ruling out the potential of airborne transmission of the virus.

Sixty-five extra infections have been confirmed on a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, raising the total number on board to 135, the ship’s captain told passengers on Monday.

At least 20 of the infected passengers are from the United States, according to a Princess Cruises spokeswoman. In all, 416 American passengers boarded the vessel, the Diamond Princess, at the start of the voyage according to the spokeswoman.

In a statement Sunday the cruise line detailed the countries of origin of what was then 66 infected passengers: 45 were Japanese, four were from Australia, three were from the Philippines, one was Canadian, one was from England, one was from Ukraine and 11 were from the United States.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

The outbreak on the ship, which has been docked at the Yokohama port since Monday, is the largest outside China. About 3,700 people, including about 2,600 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members, are quarantined on the ship, with passengers largely confined to their cabins.

The Japanese authorities have tested a few hundred people for the coronavirus who were believed to be at particular risk, but as the number of cases has risen, some passengers have pressed for everyone on board to be screened.

The last time Mr. Xi had appeared in public was at a meeting last week with Cambodia’s prime minister. Mr. Xi has yet to visit the epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan, 600 miles to the south in Hubei Province.

Chinese press reports said Mr. Xi traveled first to a neighborhood roughly five miles north of his residence near the Forbidden City and toured a local government office. He later visited a city hospital, where he took part in a video conference with officials and workers at a hospital in Wuhan.

Mr. Xi, wearing a powder blue surgical mask and a black suit, made no public remarks, at least according to initial reports. But state media said his visits demonstrated Mr. Xi’s central role in directing the response, as well as his empathy for the ordinary people it has affected most.

Workers stuck in their hometowns. Assembly lines that make General Motors cars and Apple iPhones standing silent.

More than two weeks after China locked down a major city to stop the outbreak, one of the world’s largest economies remains largely idle.

A team of experts from the World Health Organization arrived in Beijing on Monday evening, nearly two weeks after the organization’s director general met with China’s leader and praised the country’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The team was led by Bruce Aylward, a Canadian doctor and epidemiologist who has overseen international campaigns to fight Ebola and polio.

The arrival of the team came the same day China said it had set a new daily record for deaths from the virus. It said 97 people had died the day before.

The overall death toll is now 908 people, which surpasses the toll from the SARS epidemic of 2002-03, according to official data. The number of confirmed infections in the country rose to 40,171, and 3,062 new cases were recorded in the preceding 24 hours, most of them in Hubei Province.

Since W.H.O.’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, visited Beijing in January, the organization had tried to send a team, but the Chinese government balked. The delay raised questions about China’s sensitivity to accepting outside help in combating the epidemic.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Dr. Tedros said countries that have seen only a few cases with no direct connection to China could yet see a jump in new infections.

“We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he wrote.

He called on all countries to share information about the coronavirus “in real time” with the organization.

In the search for the animal source or sources of the epidemic in China, the latest candidate is the pangolin, an endangered, scaly, ant-eating mammal that is imported in huge numbers to Chinese markets for food and medicine.

The market in pangolins is so large that they are said to be the most trafficked mammals on the planet. All four Asian species are critically endangered, and it is far from clear whether being identified as a viral host would be good or bad for pangolins. It could decrease the trade in the animals, or it could cause a backlash.

The latest business casualty of the epidemic in China: Esports.

Gaming tournaments have come to a halt in the country in what had been expected to be a banner year for competitive video gaming.

China, which is projected to have 768 million active video game players by 2022, was expected to generate $210.3 million in 2019 from industry, overtaking Western Europe as the second-largest region for esports in terms of revenue. The first is the United States.

Multiple esports events in China for games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have either been postponed or canceled. Even the Pokémon Video Game Championship that was set to take place Feb. 2 in Hong Kong was canceled.

Public safety concerns have rippled across the globe.

PUBG announced that it was canceling an event in Berlin because a large chunk of its competitive players are in China. And the Overwatch League, a global league run by Blizzard Entertainment, a video game developer based in Irvine, Calif., canceled its matches in China, where it has four teams.

Given that many Chinese residents are stuck inside their homes, viewing esports events might have offered something of a reprieve amid the nationwide health crisis.

Conflicting views on whether the coronavirus can be spread through the air underscore the confusion surrounding the outbreak.

Zeng Qun, the deputy head of Shanghai’s Civil Affairs Bureau, said at a news conference on Saturday that the virus could be spread that way, meaning it might be transmitted more easily — even if people are not in proximity — than previously thought.

But Shen Yinzhong, the medical director of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, disputed that. He told The Paper, a Shanghai newspaper, that although the virus might spread through the air “in theory,” confirmation required further research.

The Chinese government and the World Health Organization have said that most infections occurred among people in close physical contact.

Experts have suggested that a related virus in 2003 that caused an outbreak of SARS could be spread through the air under some circumstances. An outbreak in Hong Kong occurred, experts said, when the wind carried the virus from an apartment complex in which several people were infected.

The China Development Forum, an annual economic policy conference that China has used to project an image as an economically open country, has been postponed indefinitely.

The coronavirus has helped push inflation to an eight-year high, the Chinese government said on Monday, adding to Beijing’s problems.

Consumer price inflation rose to 5.4 percent year on year in January, compared with a 4.5 percent rise in December. That is the highest level since November 2011, according to China’s statistics bureau.

The outbreak has disrupted China’s supply chains, making it difficult in many places to get products to market.

While nonfood related prices, including energy, rose slightly, food prices pushed inflation up. The price of pork, which has surged for months, has now more than doubled over the past year after an outbreak of African swine fever led to a shortage of pigs.

The latest inflation figures mark a new challenge for China’s central bank. The People’s Bank of China has opened the spigots to provide money to local governments that are trying to contain the outbreak.

The government has told banks to extend favorable terms to companies that have been closed by efforts to contain the outbreak.

Chinese efforts to stop the coronavirus outbreak have hit even those companies that make essential equipment for medical and emergency workers, gear that is in short supply in many parts of the country.

Officials in the city of Xiantao in Hubei Province notified companies making protective clothing and medical masks that they needed to produce the proper paperwork before they could reopen. Unless they can prove their products have been cleared for sale within China, the notice said, the factories cannot not open until Feb. 14.

The notice caused an uproar online.

Xiantao is a major industrial hub for what are known as nonwoven products. That includes the suits and gloves used by emergency workers to protect themselves during outbreaks. The area is especially important for making protective masks.

The notice said local officials made the move to ensure quality standards were upheld and to root out counterfeit gear makers. But officials relented after a public outcry. On Monday, the government said it approved 73 protective product manufacturers to resume operations, while others are being certified.

Reporting and research was contributed by Steven Lee Myers, Russell Goldman, Keith Bradsher, Ben Dooley, Motoko Rich, Sui-Lee Wee, Amber Wang, Alexandra Stevenson, Tiffany May, Megan Specia, Constant Méheut, Amie Tsang, Julie Bosman, Adam Satariano, Raphael Minder, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang, Claire Fu, Amy Qin, Heather Murphy and Imad Khan.

Source link Nytimes.com

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