Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

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Corona Virus Live Updates Health News
China announces an investigation after a whistle-blowing Wuhan doctor dies from the virus.
The virus has sickened more than 31,500 people in China and 24 other countries.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

After speaking by telephone with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, President Trump said on Twitter that “he will be successful.”

China announces an investigation after a whistle-blowing Wuhan doctor dies from the virus.

Wearing protective gear near the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Yokohama, Japan, on Friday.
Credit…Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Japanese officials said on Friday that 61 people had tested positive for the coronavirus on a quarantined cruise ship in Yokohama, a steep increase from the 20 confirmed cases on Thursday.

Also, Check China Replacing The 10 Commandments With President Xi Quotes In Churches

Officials have screened 273 passengers they said were potentially exposed to the virus. The 41 new patients were to be taken off the ship for medical treatment.

More than 2,000 passengers on the Diamond Princess ship have been stuck inside their cabins for days as part of a two-week quarantine. Meals have been irregular, and only on Thursday were small groups finally permitted to go outside and breathe some fresh air.

“I keep hearing painful coughs from a foreigner in a nearby room,” one passenger wrote on Twitter on Thursday, noting with concern that crew members were delivering meals from room to room. “I might get infected today or tomorrow.”

Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak

The virus has sickened more than 31,500 people in China and 24 other countries.

Other passengers who have been whiling away some of the time on social media told of more hopeful signs. One noted that supplies were being moved into the port and that ambulances were in position. Another said that entertainment crews had been visiting guest rooms to cheer people up, and that toilet paper had been distributed.

Of the 41 new cases, 21 were Japanese, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said. None of those 41 passengers were in serious condition as of Friday morning.

Separately, a cruise ship with 3,600 people on board remains stranded in Hong Kong. Yu Li, a mother of two infants on the World Dream cruise, said the most difficult part was a lack of clarity from the local authorities about where passengers would be quarantined.

“Most passengers are willing to be isolated whether or not they have symptoms,” she said in an interview. “I hope the government can give us a reply as soon as possible and tell us whether it would take place at home, or on the cruise, or in designated quarantine centres.”

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

Families with young children are mostly bunkered in their rooms and watching movies that the cruise ship company has distributed to help alleviate boredom, Ms. Li said. Older passengers, she said, were less willing to be confined to their rooms, choosing to play mahjong in communal spaces.

President Trump speaking Thursday at the White House.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump praised China’s response to the virus outbreak on Friday after speaking by telephone with its leader, Xi Jinping, who he said was leading “what will be a very successful operation.”

“He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus,” Mr. Trump said in a pair of Twitter posts on Friday. “He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy, but he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker and then gone.”

Mr. Trump has frequently praised Mr. Xi and spoken warmly of their relationship, even while engaging in a fierce trade war against China.

China’s state television network, CCTV, had reported earlier that the two leaders had spoken by telephone on Friday. It said Mr Xi had told Mr Trump that the Chinese government had spared no effort in what he called “a people’s war” on the virus.

In the official account of the conversation, Mr. Xi made no reference to Chinese grievances over the Trump administration’s response to the epidemic, including being the first foreign government to close its consulate in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and order the evacuation of diplomats.

Mr. Xi offered no words of thanks, a stark contrast to messages of gratitude the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been posting for other nations, including Italy, Poland, the Maldives and Pakistan.

Mr. Xi told Mr. Trump that Beijing’s efforts to control the outbreak were “gradually achieving results.”

“We are fully confident and capable of defeating the epidemic,” he said, according to CCTV.

A week ago, the Trump administration announced it would bar entry to any foreign citizens who had travelled to China during the last 14 days, saying the coronavirus constituted a public health emergency even though the United States had relatively few cases. It now has 12 confirmed infections.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, sharply criticized that decision earlier this week, accusing the United States of spreading panic and not doing anything to support China’s fight against the outbreak.

Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The death toll and the number of infections continued to soar in China, according to official data released early Friday.

The Coronavirus Outbreak

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 5, 2020

    • How is the United States being affected?
      There have been at least a dozen cases. American citizens and permanent residents who fly to the United States from China are now subject to a two-week quarantine.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      Several countries, including the United States, have discouraged travel to China, and several airlines have canceled flights. Many travelers have been left in limbo while looking to change or cancel bookings.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do

Nationwide, more than 70 new deaths and 3,100 new cases emerged in the previous 24 hours, the national health authorities said.

 

The new figures brought the total number of deaths in China to at least 636. And the total number of confirmed cases rose to 31,161.

Sixty-nine of the newly reported deaths occurred in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak, the authorities said, but there were also four deaths outside of the province: one each in Jilin, Henan, Guangdong and Hainan Provinces.

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So far, the vast majority of confirmed deaths have been in Hubei, though deaths have also been reported in other Chinese provinces, Hong Kong and the Philippines. More than 200 infections have been reported outside of China.

Many doctors believe that deaths and infections in China are undercounted because hospitals and laboratories are under severe strain to test for the virus. Local officials in Hubei Province, the centre of the outbreak, have called on health care workers to speed up the process.

Many sick residents in Hubei also say that they have been turned away by overstretched hospitals, which lack test kits and beds.

A makeshift memorial for Dr. Li Wenliang at Wuhan City Central Hospital on Friday.
Credit…Chris Buckley/The New York Time

China’s ruling Communist Party, bending to public pressure, said on Friday that it would send a team from its powerful anti-corruption committee to investigate the issues surrounding a whistle-blower doctor who had died hours earlier in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The doctor, Li Wenliang, who was among the first to warn about the outbreak, only to be silenced by the police, died on Friday after himself becoming infected with the virus, the hospital treating him reported.

The Wuhan City Central Hospital said at 3:48 a.m. on Friday that Dr. Li had just died. “We deeply regret and mourn this,” it said on the Chinese social media site Weibo. Just hours earlier, the hospital had said it was still fighting to save the 34-year-old doctor.

The death of Dr. Li set off an outpouring of grief and anger on social media, with commenters on Weibo, a Twitter-like website, demanding an apology from the authorities to Dr. Li and his family.

The State Supervisory Committee has “decided to send an investigation team to Wuhan, Hubei Province, to conduct a comprehensive investigation on related issues reported by the masses about Dr. Li Wenliang,” it said on Friday in a one-line statement on its website.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

It is rare for the Communist Party to react so swiftly to public outrage. Several top officials and state-run media outlets had also joined in the chorus to mourn Dr. Li’s death. In statements online, the National Health Commission and the Wuhan government said they expressed their condolences.

The police and others questioned Dr Li in early January after he warned a circle of medical school classmates on Dec. 30 about a viral outbreak that he said appeared similar to SARS. The police compelled him to sign a statement denouncing his warning as an unfounded and illegal rumour.

 

Li Wenliang at Wuhan Central Hospital last month.
Credit…Li Wenliang, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Last week, Elsie Chen, a Times researcher working with our correspondents Chris Buckley and Steven Lee Myers, interviewed Li Wenliang, the Wuhan doctor who was silenced after warning colleagues about the coronavirus in late December. On Friday, Dr. Li died from the virus, which he caught from a patient; he was hospitalized when Ms. Chen interviewed him on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, via the WeChat social media platform. These are edited and condensed excerpts from the interview.

When did you first realize that this new virus was highly contagious? It seemed that you hadn’t taken any precautions when you were infected.

I knew it when the patient I came in contact with infected her family, and I was infected right afterward. Thus I discovered it was highly contagious. The patient had no symptoms, so I got careless.

On Dec. 31, when you told people in the WeChat group about the SARS-like virus, did you do so because you had seen the high risk of human-to-human transmission?

I suspected that, and it’s always better to be cautious and take protective measures.

Why were you so suspicious at that point? Had you already received any news or heard anything?

Because there were already patients being treated under quarantine.

Was that at the end of December?

Yes

Were there other doctors who shared the information and reminded others to protect themselves from this mysterious pneumonia?

There were discussions among our colleagues.

What was everybody talking about? How did they evaluate the situation at that point?

It was that SARS might come back. We needed to be ready for it mentally. Take protective measures.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

Looking back at what has happened, do you think the situation would be very different now if the Wuhan government hadn’t stopped you from warning others and sharing the information? Do you think it would have been better if the information had been more public and transparent, for the public and for doctors?

If the officials had disclosed information about the epidemic earlier, I think it would have been a lot better. There should be more openness and transparency.

How did you feel when the police accused you of spreading rumours?

The police believed this virus was not confirmed to be SARS. They believed I was spreading rumours. They asked me to acknowledge that I was at fault.

I felt I was being wronged, but I had to accept it. Obviously I had been acting out of goodwill. I felt very sad seeing so many people losing their loved ones.

Why did you decide to become a doctor? What made you proud to be one? Can you say anything about your family?

I thought it was a very stable job. Lately, patient-doctor relationships have soured. I am happy as long as my patients are satisfied with their treatment.

My older child is 4 years and 10 months old. The younger one is still unborn, due in June. I miss my family. I talk to them by video.

How long will it take you to recover? What do you plan to do afterwards?

I started coughing on Jan. 10. It will take me another 15 days or so to recover. I will join medical workers in fighting the epidemic. That’s where my responsibilities lie.

Chinese police officers on the main road leading to Tiananmen Square in Beijing this week.
Credit…Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

For many of the Chinese social media users mourning Li Wenliang on Friday, the tragedy was a lesson about the importance of free speech — one that the government didn’t understand.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

Beijing has increased its censorship over investigative reports that exposed missteps by officials who underestimated and played down the threat from the coronavirus. China’s top leaders have stepped up efforts to make the news coverage focus more on positive developments in the battle against the epidemic.

The hashtag #wewantfreedomofspeech#, created on the Twitter-like service Weibo at 2 a.m. on Friday, had over two million views and over 5,500 posts by 7 a.m., amid the online outcry over Dr. Li’s death. It was deleted by censors, along with related topics, such as ones saying that the Wuhan government owed Dr. Li an apology.

“I love my country deeply,” read one post under that topic. “But I don’t like the current system and the ruling style of my country. It covered my eyes, my ears and my mouth.”

The writer of the post complained about not being able to gain access to the internet beyond China’s so-called Great Firewall: “I’ve been holding back for a long time. I feel we’ve all been holding back for a long time. It erupted today.”

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

Talking about freedom of speech on the Chinese internet is taboo, even though it’s written into the Constitution. So it’s a small miracle that the freedom of speech hashtag survived for over five hours.

High-powered executives in China echoed the same sentiments online, if less bluntly.

“It’s time to reflect on the deeply rooted stability-trumps-everything thinking that’s hurt everyone,” Wang Ran, chairman of the investment bank CEC Capital, wrote on Weibo. “We all want stability,” he said. “Will you be more stable if you cover the others’ mouths while walking on a tightrope?

Gao Xiaosong, an Alibaba executive, posted on his Weibo account that he hoped China would enact a whistle-blower protection act, seemingly in reference to the American law, so that more people could speak out like Dr. Li did. “RIP. Our hero. Thank you,” he wrote of Dr. Li.

Machines used by the Kolmi Hopen company to make masks in Angers, France.
Credit…Elliott Verdier for The New York Times

In Angers, France, a company owned by the medical supply company Kolmi Hopen makes 170 million medical face masks a year. It isn’t enough.

As orders pour in at a staggering rate, Kolmi Hopen is hiring more workers to keep up with demand.

“We’re making masks as fast as we can,” said Guillaume Laverdure, the chief operating officer of Kolmi Hopen’s parent company, Canada-based Medicom.

“But demand is still rising,” he added.

The coronavirus outbreak has set off a run on protective masks across China and in major Asian cities. The Chinese government has ordered citizens to don masks every time they go outside. That has led to shortages. In Hong Kong, for example, long lines form early in the morning in front of pharmacies as people try to buy them before supplies run out.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

China produces about half the world’s sanitary face masks. But production had already slowed as Chinese factories wound down for the Lunar New Year holiday in early January. Some sites around Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, have yet to fully revive production, according to the government.

Foxconn, the Taiwan-based company that puts together Apple’s iPhones, has jumped into the market. It began trial production of masks this week at its campus in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, the company said on the WeChat social media platform.

Foxconn said it hoped to be producing two million masks a day by the end of this month. The goal is to meet its own employees’ needs, but it might also sell the masks externally to support the broader fight against the virus, the company said.

For now, people are rushing to buy them when and where they can.

Ha Fong, 80, stalks the streets of her Hong Kong neighbourhood every morning to search for surgical masks, hand sanitizers and detergent.

“I line up wherever people are lining up,” she said, adding that she didn’t feel panicked, believing the shortage to be temporary.

 

An installation by Lee Bul at last year’s Art Basel Hong Kong.
Credit…Theodore Kaye/Getty Images for Hong Kong Tourism Board

This year’s edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, one of the most important destinations in the international art market calendar, has been canceled, with organizers citing the “sudden and widespread outbreak” of the coronavirus in China.

The fair was to run March 17 through March 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and feature premier galleries from Asia and beyond.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

“The decision to cancel Art Basel Hong Kong was an extremely difficult one for us,” said Bernd Stadlwieser, chief executive of MCH Group, the Swiss company behind the fair. He said organizers had explored “every other possible option, including postponing the fair” before concluding it should be canceled.

MCH cited numerous factors, including the health and safety of workers and visitors, the logistical challenges of mounting the event and the escalating difficulties of travel to Hong Kong. Three American airlines have suspended flights to mainland China.

Last week, as Hong Kong shut down museums and schools, and restricted flights from the mainland, participating dealers called for the closure of the fair.

On Wednesday, the London-based dealer Richard Nagy, one of more than 240 exhibitors at the event, sent an email to the organizers.

“Not one of our foreign clients will be attending, and they are surprised the fair is still on,” Mr. Nagy wrote. “There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that this art fair is now commercially on artificial life support.” The email concluded that the fair was “fatally wounded” and needed to be “put out of its misery.”

Unloading fresh food and supplies from an Australian military plane on Friday at Christmas Island, where evacuees from Wuhan are being housed.
Credit…Richard Wainwright/EPA, via Shutterstock

A second large planeload of Australian citizens and permanent residents will be evacuated from Wuhan, and this time they will be quarantined at a vacant mining village in Australia’s Northern Territory, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.

About 270 Australians who were evacuated from Wuhan on Monday are currently being housed in a former immigration center on Christmas Island, 2,000 miles west of Australia’s mainland.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

But with that center at capacity, the government is now preparing the village of Manigurr-ma, near the northern city of Darwin, to house the new planeload of evacuees. The village was formerly used by Inpex, an oil and gas corporation, to house construction workers, and it has a gym, a dining hall and a swimming pool.

The village will be declared an isolation zone and be ready to receive about 280 people on Saturday when the evacuees’ plane is due to land in Darwin, the Northern Territory government said. None of the evacuees has symptoms of the coronavirus, officials said.

A closed Apple store in Chengdu, China, on Thursday.
Credit…Yuyang Liu for The New York Times

Chinese leaders are seeking to reassure the public that the economic devastation of the coronavirus will be short-lived and controlled. But they are taking steps to weather extended factory shutdowns and store closures.

The deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, Pan Gongsheng, said on Friday that controlling the virus was a “top priority.” This week, the central bank pumped some $175 billion into the financial system, and the government has issued a flurry of financial aid measures at the local level.

The country has been on virtual lockdown for weeks, with major factories and highways closed, trains shut and aeroplanes grounded. Some of the world’s biggest companies have already felt the impact, including Starbucks, Ikea and Apple.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

Toyota on Friday said its non-plant operations would reopen on Feb. 10 but that its production plants would remain closed for at least another week. Uniqlo said it would close 370 of its 750 stores in China because of the outbreak, Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Mr. Pan acknowledged that the outbreak had already hurt entire industries like tourism, food and entertainment. But he said the impact would be limited to the first quarter.

“After the epidemic is controlled, the economy will return near the potential output quickly,” he said.

Health officials during a drill in transporting a patient requiring isolation at the Belawan port in Medan, Indonesia, on Monday.
Credit…Ivan Damanik/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It is the world’s fourth-most-populous country, and it is a popular destination for Chinese tourists, including from Wuhan. But Indonesia still has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, officials there insist.

On Thursday, the health ministry’s director for communicable diseases said that none of the 243 people evacuated to Indonesia from Wuhan — 238 students and five officials from the Indonesian consulate there — showed signs of illness after being screened and quarantined. And he said until they showed symptoms, there was no need for full testing.

Corona Virus Live Updates Health News

“If they are not well, feverish, coughing and sneezing, then we will swab,” he said, according to Channel News Asia. “If they are fine, why should we swab?”

Last week, Indonesia barred visitors from China, and flights to and from mainland China. But many Chinese tourists remain in Indonesia, including popular spots like Bali, officials say.

Reporting was contributed by Daniel Victor, Eimi Yamamitsu, Steven Lee Myers, Sui-Lee Wee, Li Yuan, Elaine Yu, Elsie Chen, Albee Zhang, Christopher Buckley, Isabella Kwai, Liz Alderman, Denise Grady, Alexandra Stevenson, Scott Reyburn, Raymond Zhong and Vivian Wang.

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