SARS-like virus responsible for mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China

UNTV News   •   January 9, 2020   •   735

BEIJING, CHINA : Passengers wearing face masks as a precaution against the deadly SARS virus check in at Beijing’s Capital Airport for one of the few remaining daily Beijing to Hong Kong flights on Air China, Monday 21 April 2003. After months of denying the gravity of the problem, China’s government has suddenly made it a national priority to deal with the killer illness which originated in the Southern Chinese province of Guangdong. EPA PHOTO EPA / STR

Beijing – A new type of hitherto-unknown coronavirus has been the cause of a mysterious outbreak of viral pneumonia in central China, that has so far affected at least 59 people – with seven of them in serious condition – according to reports by the Chinese state broadcaster aired on Thursday.

The head of the group of experts tasked with detecting the cause of the disease, Xu Jianguo, explained in an interview on CCTV that the investigation of this newfound virus could take weeks, and that scientists were only able to detect it on Tuesday.

Xu said that until now only six types of coronavirus were known: four of them cause only mild respiratory conditions similar to a cold, while the other two cause two serious illnesses – severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Alarm bells went off in China over fears of a fresh outbreak of SARS, a disease that had spread across the country in 2003 and caused hundreds of deaths, although the authorities this time ruled out that it was SARS or even MERS.

According to the World Health Organization, between 14 and 15 per cent of SARS cases result in death, while in the case of MERS, the figure is 35 percent.

According to the latest update on the outbreak by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission outbreak, published on Sunday night, a total of 59 patients diagnosed with having been infected with viral pneumonia – of which seven were in serious condition – had been quarantined, and another 163 people who had been in contact with those affected were being monitored.

The first case was recorded on Dec. 12 and the most recent one on Dec. 29.

The commission said that they had so far found no clear evidence that the disease has been transmitted between humans.

CCTV said on Thursday that eight people who were suffering from the disease have recovered and been discharged.

There are indications that the disease could have originated from a fish and seafood market in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and home to about 11 million people.

A woman in South Korea who had visited Wuhan in December was quarantined and receiving treatment at a hospital in Dongtan – located some 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the east of Seoul – after exhibiting some of the symptoms associated with the mysterious pneumonia.

The outbreak has caused widespread panic in China; especially in Hong Kong, where virtually all pedestrians, commuters, workers and students have been wearing surgery masks over the past few days. EFE-EPA

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11 Pinoy seafarers na ilang buwang stranded sa barko sa China, nakabalik na sa bansa

Robie de Guzman   •   September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Matapos ang halos pitong buwan ay nakauwi na sa bansa ang 11 Pilipinong marinong stranded sa sinasakyang barko sa China dahil sa pagsasara ng mga border sa iba’t ibang bansa sa gitna ng pandemiya.

Martes ng madaling araw nang dumating sa bansa ang grupo at pansamantalang mamamalagi sa isang quarantine facility sa Pasay City upang hintayin ang resulta ng swab test na isinagawa sa paliparan.

Ayon kay Anthony Medina, labis ang kagalakan niya at ng kanyang mga kasamahan dahil sa wakas ay nakauwi na sila at muli nang makakapiling ang kani-kanilang pamilya.

“Sobrang saya po namin talagang halos gusto namin na mauna pa kami sa eroplano makalapag eh. Makikita na po namin ang mga mahal namin sa buhay,” ang wika ni Medina.

Nagpasalamat din ang kapatid ni Anthony na si Analiza Medina sa lahat ng mga tumulong upang makauwi ang mga tripulante.

“Para po kaming nanghihina na parang wala ng mag rerescue sa kanila. Kaya po talagang sobrang saya namin na nakauwi na sila. Nagpapasalamat po kami sa lahat ng tumulong at sa mga hindi po nagsawa na tulungan sila,” ang pahayag ni Analiza.

Bago umuwi sa kani-kanilang pamilya, kailangan munang asikasuhan ng mga marino ang ilang mga bagay sa kanilang agency.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ng Overseas Workers Welfare Administration na bibigyan ng ayuda ang mga umuwing seafarer. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lucille Lloren)

DFA finalizes repatriation for 11 stranded Filipino seafarers onboard Ocean Star 86

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is finalizing the repatriation of the remaining 11 Filipino seafarers stranded in Chinese waters onboard Ocean Star 86 since March 24.

The DFA and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are already coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in China. OWWA said the seafarers will be able to return home by next week.

“Mayroon na po napipintong repatriation either this coming week or first week of October ng ating mga mahal na stranded seafarers sa China (Our stranded seafarers in China will be repatriated either this coming week or first week of October). We are now providing assistance to the seafarers,” according to OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.

Based on the information received by OWWA, the Ocean Star 86 is docked in the mainland and the Philippine Embassy in China has been providing assistance to the seafarers. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Fresh PHL protest vs China won’t affect diplomatic ties – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The fresh diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines against China over its coast guard’s “illegal confiscation” of fish aggregating devices installed by Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc will not affect the friendship between the two countries, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said lodging of protests over acts deemed violative of the country’s sovereign rights is part of the job of Philippine diplomats.

“‘Yang mga protests naman ginagawa talaga yan ng ating mga diplomats kung meron sa tingin natin na lalalabag sa ating soberenya o doon sa ating tinatawag natin sovereign rights,” he said.

“Pero hindi naman po makakaapekto doon sa kabuuan ng ating matalik na pagsasamahan sa panig ng bansa natin at ng bansang Tsina,” he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said it has lodged a diplomatic protest against China over the incident that took place in May.

Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal is a vital spawning ground for fish that lies over 100 nautical miles from the coast of Masinloc, Zambales.

It is among the areas in the South China Sea being claimed by China, including waters within the exclusive economic zones of Malaysia, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hage rules that under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, the Bajo de Masinloc is a common fishing ground and that China’s claims over the strategic body of water is not valid. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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