China records 9 coronavirus deaths, 440 confirmed cases

UNTV News   •   January 22, 2020   •   754

A woman checks the mask on her child outside Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 21 January 2020. EFE/EPA/YUAN ZHENG

By Javier Triana

Beijing
– The death toll from the new coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, has increased to nine with 440 confirmed cases, the country’s National Health Commission reported Wednesday.

At midnight local time on Tuesday (16.00 GMT), 13 provinces had confirmed the 440 cases of infection, and the nine deaths were all located in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, NHC vice-minister Li Bin said Wednesday at a press conference in Beijing.

This hikes the casualty figures by three deaths and 149 people infected since the last report published on Tuesday.

The city of Wuhan has a population of 11 million people and is the epicenter of the outbreak of the new type of coronavirus (2019-nCov). It causes what is known as “Wuhan pneumonia” which, authorities said on Monday, can be spread through human contact.

Li said there is a possibility that the virus — the transmission route of which is yet to be completely traced — could mutate and that the epidemic could spread, but that no “super transmitter” with the capacity to infect many people from a single case has been detected.

He expressed concern about the spread of infection that could occur throughout Chinese New Year, the holiday period that officially begins Friday and constitutes the largest human migration on the planet, with tens of millions of Chinese returning to their hometowns.

He said: “During Chinese New Year, the surge [in people moving around the country] increases the risk of the epidemic’s spread and the difficulty of prevention and control. We must not take it lightly,”

However, Li said that the response of health services to the disease has managed to keep “fatalities and cases at a minimal level.”

“We have confidence we will defeat this disease,” the official concluded.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s president Tsai-Ing Wen called on China to make fully transparent all its information on the virus to help other countries take proper measures to prevent its spread.

Taiwan has reported one confirmed case of the virus — a Taiwanese woman returning to the island from a business trip to Wuhan.

The patient reportedly felt ill for days before her trip home but wore a face mask on the return flight. She was quarantined on arrival and hospitalized.

Tsai said the woman was in a stable condition.

Taiwanese medical personnel are working with airline companies to detect potential cases of fever on board planes, a symptom of the SARS-like Wuhan virus along with difficulty breathing.

The World Health Organization has scheduled a Wednesday meeting to determine whether the current outbreak of coronavirus in China constitutes an international emergency.

Japan and South Korea have also reported one case each, while two others had already been confirmed in Thailand with another two announced Wednesday.

The United States announced its first case Tuesday, with the affected person hospitalized last week after experiencing symptoms of pneumonia and, according to US authorities, is in a stable condition after having recently traveled to Wuhan, the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The patient returned from China on Jan. 15, two days before US authorities ordered all travelers entering from Wuhan to be monitored for viral illness at the airports in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. EFE-EPA

jt/tw

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)

Detroit bus driver dies of COVID-19 days after posting rant vs coughing passenger

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 6, 2020

A bus driver in the United States (US) died 11 days after he posted a video on Facebook complaining about a coughing passenger.

50-year-old Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove posted a video on March 21 recounting an incident where an woman in her late fifties coughed several times without covering her mouth.

“I feel violated, I feel violated for those folks that was on the bus when this happened,” he said on his video.

He also advised everyone watching the video to take the pandemic seriously.

He reiterated his anger to the old woman who coughed without covering her mouth saying it was those kinds of people who are not taking the situation seriously.

“This is real, I’m out here. We are all here. We are moving in this city back and forth, trying to do our jobs and be professional about what we do,” he said.

“We’re out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families. But for you to get on the bus, and stand on the bus, and cough several times without covering up your mouth, and you know that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care.”

A week after his Facebook rant, Hangrove, a father of six, died on April 1 due to complications from COVID-19.

His video has already been viewed more than half a million times. Netizens are also rallying for the frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. AAC

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)

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