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Fear of coronavirus pandemic grows but China eases curbs as new infections fall

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Fear of coronavirus pandemic grows but China eases curbs as new infections fall

By Ryan Woo, Hyonhee Shin

 

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People wearing face masks walk along a street, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

 

BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) - Fears of a coronavirus pandemic grew on Monday after sharp rises in new cases reported in Iran, Italy and South Korea but China relaxed restrictions on movements in several places including Beijing as its rates of new infections eased.

 

The surge of infections outside mainland China triggered steep falls in Asian shares and Wall Street stock futures as investors fled to safe havens such as gold. Oil prices tumbled and the Korean won fell to its lowest since August.

 

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) said it no longer had a process for declaring a pandemic but the coronavirus outbreak remained an international emergency.

 

“We are specially concerned about the rapid increase in cases in ... Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea,” WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Sweden via video link.

 

“The number of cases in those countries has increased significantly in the last two to three days.”

 

South Korea reported 231 new cases taking its total to 833, as its hard-hit fourth-largest city of Daegu became more isolated with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air suspending flights there until next month.

 

Iran, which announced its first two cases on Wednesday, said it had confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths. Most of the infections were in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom.

 

More cases appeared in the Middle East with Bahrain reporting its first case, the state news agency said, and Kuwait reporting three cases involving people who had been in Iran.

 

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan imposed travel and immigration restrictions on Iran. But Afghanistan reported its first case on Monday, in the western border province of Herat, again involving someone who had recently been in Iran, officials said.

 

The WHO has been saying for weeks it dreads the disease reaching countries with weak health systems.

 

Europe’s biggest outbreak is in Italy with some 150 infections - from just three before Friday - and a fourth death.

 

[Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.]

 

‘SEVERE AND COMPLEX’

 

Scientists around the world are scrambling to analyze the virus, but a vaccine is probably more than a year away.

 

“Worryingly, it seems that the virus can pass from person-to-person without symptoms, making it extremely difficult track, regardless of what health authorities do,” said Simon Clarke, an expert in cellular microbiology at Britain’s University of Reading.

 

China postponed the annual meeting of its parliament and would ban the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife, state media reported. The virus originated late last year, apparently in an illegal wildlife market in the city of Wuhan.

 

But in good news for China, more than 20 province-level jurisdictions including Beijing and Shanghai, reported zero infections, the best showing since the outbreak began.

 

President Xi Jinping urged businesses to get back to work though he said the epidemic was still “severe and complex, and prevention and control work is in the most difficult and critical stage”.

 

Excluding central Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, mainland China reported 11 new cases, the lowest since the national health authority started publishing nationwide figures on Jan. 20.

 

In the Hubei capital of Wuhan, where its 11 million people have been under virtual lockdown for weeks, officials even said healthy people would be allowed to leave the city for crucial operations, but authorities later revoked the decision.

 

The coronavirus has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed more than 2,500 in China, most in Hubei.

 

China reported 409 new cases on the mainland, down from 648 a day earlier, taking the total number of infections to 77,150 cases as of Feb. 23. The death toll rose by 150 to 2,592.

 

Xi said on Sunday the outbreak would have a relatively big, but short-term impact on the economy and the government would step up policy adjustments to help cushion the blow.

 

TOWNS SEALED

 

Outside mainland China, the outbreak has spread to about 29 countries and territories, with a death toll of about two dozen, according to a Reuters tally.

 

Italy sealed off the worst-affected towns and banned public gatherings in much of the north, including halting the carnival in Venice, where there were two cases.

 

Austria briefly suspended train services over the Alps from Italy after two travelers coming from Italy showed symptoms of fever.

 

The two tested negative for the coronavirus but Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said a task force would meet on Monday to discuss whether to introduce border controls with Italy.

 

In South Korea, authorities reported a seventh death and dozens more cases on Monday. Of the new cases, 115 were linked to a church in the city of Daegu.

 

Japan had 773 cases as of late Sunday, mostly on a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo. A third passenger, a Japanese man in his 80s, died on Sunday.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-24

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and still only 35 cases in Thailand - who would have thunk it

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1 hour ago, smedly said:

and still only 35 cases in Thailand - who would have thunk it

My money's on Som Tam nothing can survive that spicy onslaught. That said if there was carnage at the hospitals there would have been numerous stuff on social from concerned health officials. Instead there is nothing. Zilch. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_outbreak_in_Thailand

Edited by URMySunshine
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3 minutes ago, URMySunshine said:

My money's on Som Tam nothing can survive that spicy onslaught. That said if there was carnage at the hospitals there would have been numerous stuff on social from concerned health officials. Instead there is nothing. Zilch. 

There have been - the Government Fake News division has investigated every one of them and concluded they are all "Fake News"

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10 minutes ago, smedly said:

There have been - the Government Fake News division has investigated every one of them and concluded they are all "Fake News"

Just crawled through a few hours of Thai tweets with auto translate on and nothing to note. No horror images or vids. Now either they have got real good at suppressing them or they don't exist. By contrast certain unmentionable things that they would no doubt like to suppress flood twitter at various times - so I've been told.  

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1 hour ago, URMySunshine said:

Just crawled through a few hours of Thai tweets with auto translate on and nothing to note. No horror images or vids. Now either they have got real good at suppressing them or they don't exist. By contrast certain unmentionable things that they would no doubt like to suppress flood twitter at various times - so I've been told.  

you seemed to have convinced yourself - who am I to argue 

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China relaxed restrictions on movements in several places including Beijing as its rates of new infections eased.

BS the ONLY reason restrictions have eased is they cant afford to stay shut down much longer.... thats all.

 

"It Will Be Really, Really Bad": China Faces Financial Armageddon With 85% Of Businesses Set To Run Out Of Cash In 3 Months

For the past two weeks, even as the market took delight in China's doctored and fabricated numbers showing the coronavirus spread was "slowing", we warned again and again that not only was this not the case (which recent data out of South Korea, Japan and now Italy has confirmed), but that for all its assertions to the contrary, China's workers simply refused to go back to work 

https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/it-will-be-really-really-bad-china-faces-financial-armageddon-85-businesses-set-run-out

 

Cases are continuing to climb throughtout China and Wuhan is according to its own WHO still very grim ... but its just the flu. 

 

 

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Dow Jones dropped over 1000 pts yesterday over this.

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12 hours ago, URMySunshine said:

My money's on Som Tam nothing can survive that spicy onslaught.

at least 3 times a week. So addictive.

  • Haha 1

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The downturn in new cases can be ascribed to either, running out of test kits, or deliberately downplaying for financial/economic reasons.

 

 

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the bottom line is...

patient X transmitting the coronavirus without ever showing any symptoms. put your head between your legs kiddies and kiss your <deleted> goodbye.

Edited by wombat
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15 hours ago, smedly said:

you seemed to have convinced yourself - who am I to argue 

Come with some proof then.

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