International Asia Morning brief: update for Feb 16, 2020

Morning brief: COVID-19 update for Feb 16, 2020

Morning brief




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As of 7am, Feb 16, 2020:

WORLD COUNT: There are 69,044 confirmed cases of the coronavirus () in the world. A total of 28 countries and territories have been affected so far. The number of deaths has risen to 1,666. Across the world, a total of 11,080 are in critical condition, while 9,425 previously infected persons have recovered.

CHINA: There are 68,347 confirmed cases of infection in China. The country’s death count now stands at 1,855 people. Across China and Asia, offices have been struggling to cope with getting back to work, with so many people under quarantine and others afraid to venture out during the virus outbreak. With millions of people holed up in homes, this might be the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. Businesses will have to rely on technology and digital sharing tools to connect and get work done. For certain sectors, this can be quite effective. With many employees not showing up at work, there is a high demand for delivery robots among retailers and other businesses in China, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. International humanitarian non-profit organization Doctors Without Borders is sending 3.5 metric tonnes (3.8 US tons) specialised medical equipment to Wuhan Jinyintan hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus. The World Health Organization-led joint mission to China will be arriving this weekend. A dozen international and WHO experts will be meeting with a similar number of Chinese experts to review data and make field visits to several Chinese provinces, all in aid of developing response and containment steps. They will be in China for as long as is needed.

Hong Kong’s public hospitals report having a “tight” supply of medical equipment, officials said in a press conference on Saturday (Feb 15). The protective gear on hand, including face masks and protective clothing, is estimated to last only until next month. Authorities are looking to purchase more from other countries. Doctors Without Borders has launched a health education project in Hong Kong which will disseminate health information to vulnerable communities about how to protect themselves from the virus. They will also send one metric tonne (1.1 US ton) of protective equipment to the Hong Kong St. John Ambulance service. Hong Kong Disneyland is lending vacant sites to the government to be used as potential quarantine facilities. No schedule or plan regarding the site has been released. There are currently 56 cases of confirmed novel coronavirus in Hong Kong.

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Macao, which has a total of 10 cases, has not reported any new cases of the virus.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that as of Feb 15, there are five additional cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore. Three of these are linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God, one is linked to the cluster at Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site and the other case is linked to a previous case. One more case (case 24) of the virus has been discharged from hospital today; so far, 18 cases have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged.

ASEAN: A medical worker in Thailand was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, bringing the national total to 34 cases. The new confirmed case is a 35-year-old woman who had close contact with another confirmed patient receiving treatment at Bamrasnaraduna Infectious Disease Institute. The first case of COVID-19 connected to the Westerdam cruise ship was confirmed by Malaysia. An 83-year-old US citizen tested positive in Kuala Lumpur after disembarking and flying from Cambodia, which allowed the cruise ship to dock after it was turned away by several other Asian countries. The patient is undergoing treatment at the hospital. With the addition of three new cases, Malaysia now has a total of 22 confirmed cases. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus.

ASIA: Aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, another 67 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato reported that the number of cases on the ship totals 286. Japan reported 79 new cases of the virus, bringing the country total to 338 confirmed cases. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus. Nepal reported its first case of COVID-19.

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EUROPE: France has reported the first COVID-19 death in Europe— a Chinese tourist who was 80 years old had been receiving treatment at the Bichat Hospital in Paris since testing positive on Jan 25. French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn confirmed that the patient’s daughter has also tested positive to Coronavirus and is currently being treated at the Bichat hospital in Paris. She should be released from hospital soon. France also reported one more case of the virus, bringing the countrywide total to 12. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus.

AMERICA: United States citizens onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan will be screened and quarantined for 14 days should they choose to disembark. All 400 US passengers were urged to leave the ship and return to the US. The State Department will provide chartered flights for those who choose to leave. Passengers who choose to leave will be tested and monitored by medical personnel all the way back to the US. Americans who have already tested positive for the virus—24 so far—as well as those showing symptoms of the virus will not be allowed to board the charter plane for the US but will be treated in Japan. The US has 15 total cases of COVID-19. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus.
AUSTRALIA: Australia’s confirmed cases are at 15 in total, and New Zealand still has no cases of the virus in the country.
AFRICA: After Egypt reported its first case on Feb 14, no other cases have been reported in the region.


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