China confirms 830 novel coronavirus cases, 25 deaths

UNTV News   •   January 24, 2020   •   1287

Medical staff transfers a patient at Hospital of Wuhan Red Cross Society in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, 23 January 2020 (issued 24 January 2020). The outbreak of coronavirus has so far claimed 25 lives and infected more than 800 others, according to media reports. Authorities have extended a travel ban to eight cities in Hubei province, Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Zhijiang and Lichuan in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, which has so far been detected in the USA, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

The death toll from China’s new coronavirus has risen to 25, and the number confirmed cases in the Asian country to 830, the National Health Commission reported Friday.

At midnight local time (16:00 GMT on Thursday), the agency said that during the 23rd day, eight new deaths and 259 new cases were confirmed, affecting 29 provinces and autonomous regions throughout the country.

For the first time, a death was recorded in the province of Hebei, in the northeast, surrounding Beijing. Until then all victims had been registered in the province of Hubei, the capital of which is Wuhan, a city of about 11 million people and the epicenter of the outbreak.

At least 177 patients are in serious condition, while 34 have been discharged.

The health authorities carried out medical follow-ups with 9,507 people who had been in close contact with the infected, with 8,420 of those still under observation.

Wuhan has been on lockdown since Thursday to prevent further spread of the virus.

The authorities of other Hubei cities Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Zhijiang and Lichuan are now also subject to travel bans, the Hong Kong South China Morning Post said Friday.

In Wuhan, the Didi shared taxi service will also stop operating at midday local time (04:00 GMT time) at the request of the city’s outbreak command authority.

Outside of China, the Beijing source said that two of the four cases diagnosed in Thailand have been cured. There are also two cases in Japan, and one case each in the United States and Singapore.

Vietnam late Thursday confirmed its first cases. In Ho Chi Minh City, two tourists traveling from Wuhan — a 66-year-old father and his 28-year-old — son were hospitalized and underwent a series of tests to confirm the infection.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement Thursday night that both men are recovering and in “good condition.”

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the authorities to implement a series of security measures to prevent new cases, as well as increased controls at airports and border posts.

South Korea confirmed Friday a second case of infection in a 55-year-old South Korean who had been working in Wuhan and fell ill there, before he returned to Seoul on Wednesday where he was detected during screening at Gimpo airport, according to the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 35-year-old Chinese woman who arrived in Seoul from Wuhan was reported as the first case on Monday.

Taiwan also has a case, although Chinese authorities consider Taiwan a province of China and therefore include it in the national count.

The symptoms of the new coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV provisionally by the World Health Organization (WHO), are in many cases similar to those of a cold, but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).

For its part, the WHO on Thursday decided against declaring an international emergency, although it asked China to increase surveillance in an epidemic that poses a “very high” risk nationally and internationally. EFE-EPA

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Air quality in Beijing improves due to coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

As the whole world is struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic, one of the unexpected outcomes for Chinese people is more clean skies.

China had a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide pollution in cities like Beijing during February, when factories and streets were closed as authorities attempted to stop the spread of the virus, according to the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus satellite image.

Analysis by Greenpeace shows that the pollutant emissions in Beijing and its surrounding areas dropped by more than 40% year-on-year in February.

Compared to previous years, the air in the capital has seen a big improvement during the outbreak. Streets and landmarks are no longer covered in smog.

Beijing resident Liu Chuan takes this as a potential health benefit, saying that he could even see stars at night after work.

“It feels like the air is overall much less polluted than it used to be. It also improves people’s mood, and indirectly strengthens the immunity. It’s good for fighting the virus,” added Liu.

However, expert warns the air pollution and carbon emissions may soon reappear as Chinese factories are ramping up output in an effort to offset the economic hit of coronavirus.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that it may cause air pollution frequently if a large scale of high-polluting industries resume production,” said Lyn Liu, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner. (Reuters)

(Production: Irene Wang, Shubing Wang, Joyce Zhou, Natalie Thomas)

China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.

Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.

The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Irene Wang)

Teenage boy dies in London after testing positive for coronavirus

UNTV News   •   April 1, 2020

A 13-year-old boy in London who tested positive for coronavirus has died, a hospital said on Tuesday (March 31).

“Sadly, a 13-year old boy who tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away, and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time,” King’s College Hospital said in a statement.

“The death has been referred to the coroner and no further comment will be made.”

The number of deaths from coronavirus in the United Kingdom rose by 27% as the UK government said 1,789 people have died in hospitals as of 1600 GMT on Monday, an increase of 381 from Sunday, the largest rise in absolute terms yet. (Reuters)

(Production: Gerry Mey, Michael Fiorentino)

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