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Coronavirus turns busy Chinese cities into ghost towns

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Coronavirus turns busy Chinese cities into ghost towns

By Muyu Xu and Carlos Garcia



A woman wearing a face mask takes selfies after snowfall outside the Forbidden City, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "CHINA GHOST" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES


BEIJING (Reuters) - After making sure everyone's face mask is on and sanitizer is to hand, the Qiao family heads out to Jingshan Park, a former royal sanctuary beside the Forbidden City in China's capital Beijing.


Snow has fallen for a second day, a rare event in the city of 21.5 million that would normally bring hundreds of thousands of people out to take photos and play. But the streets are empty and the parks are so quiet the only sound is of birds chirping.


It's not just Beijing. Shanghai, China's financial hub, and other cities in the world's most populous nation have turned into ghost towns after the government extended a holiday and asked residents not to go out because of the coronavirus.


"We know the situation of the coronavirus is severe. But the epicenter is far away, so we think it should be fine here ...

It's a God-given chance to enjoy this family moment with snow and without work," said Mr Qiao, who has an 11-year-old daughter.


The epidemic has killed 722 people and infected nearly 32,000 in China as of Feb 8. More than three-quarters of the cases are in the central Hubei province where the virus originated - more than 1,000 km (620 miles) from Beijing.


Only a few people are brave enough to come out. A security guard at Jingshan Park said there were less than a third of the number of tourists than usual, even with the rare snowfall.


Even at one of the best spots for snapping photos of snowy Beijing just outside the Forbidden City, there's barely a crowd, while the usual tour buses and groups of people speaking different dialects are nowhere to be seen.


"Last year when it snowed, I took a few hours off work to come down here to take a picture and the crowd was several layers deep," said a man in his 30s who gave his surname as Yang. "But this year, I am not at all worried about finding a space to take a photo. The virus is keeping people indoors."


Security guards along Wangfujing street, a popular pedestrianised shopping area in downtown Beijing, said it was normally so crowded during the holiday period that it was hard to move around.


"Look at it now, there are more security guards and street cleaners than tourists!" said one of the guards.


Businesses, including shops, bars and restaurants, have been severely hit by the epidemic as the government has banned mass gatherings and even group meals in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.


"You would have to wait outside for a table on a normal day," said a waitress at a restaurant with more than 50 tables. Just five were taken at the peak lunch hour.


Only a handful of the more than 100 restaurants along Beijing's famous food street, Guijie, were open, and the remaining outlets were wondering how long they can hold out.


(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Carlos Garcia; Editing by David Clarke)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-09



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6 hours ago, RubbaJohnny said:

Risk management is a key to a long and healthy life.

It is a tragedy for the sick and a concern for all .


However in professional career I was always reminded that we should use statistics like a drunk man uses a lampost 


"For support rather Illunination'


An example


A new Corona tracker called Wuflu



It is using the same data as others but how it interpreted is different.


Japan shows 89 cases and colored red as is China

Of course all bar 25 are utterly quarantined on a cruise ship, there are same ratio of confirmed cases onshore  to population  as France say with half the population of Japan, yet some of the French cases are British etc.


Korea and Thailand have a few dozen confirmed in huge countries with large populations, as do much smaller HK and Singapore are small densely populated places.


While I have no evidence other than visits to both I imagine reporting testing speeds in Germany will exceed Nepal.In addition to diagnosis I'd also  imagine outcomes will reflect level of Health care in Germany versus Nepal etc.I've also not heard if those " cured" and released are either immune or may be able become reinfected.


We need also consider accuracy, state interference and censorship be it self censorship or imposed.


I wish all good health and to take wise medical advice form medical experts and statistics with a pinch of salt, of course once the epidemic/pandemic is over the morbidity figues will be knowable in open societies.


In the interim I'd imagine here in LOS there are many greater dangers, tobacco , alcohol, unprotected sex, and as we tragically saw just visiting a shopping mall can be terminal.


Ironic  to see yesterday folks in mask on motorcylces with no crash helmet as Trink used to say TIT, this is Thailand.


Although updated slower than Wuflu this site seems to be from a reputable Uni John Hopkins in USA.




The classic text How to lie with statistics is available as a free pdf




Why I like this post.

Latest I've seen on figures by WHO they say they got from China.

34,000 infected.

6150 in critical condition.

800? dead.

So how many of the critical won't make it in the next week?

How many more will be infected in a week.

How many will have died in a weeks time.

All the questions above don't have an exact answer in numbers. So, forget about 2%, 9% or 15%.

The only true % figures can be calculated only when the virus has run it's course.


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