International Asia Morning brief: update for Feb 11, 2020

Morning brief: Wuhan coronavirus update for Feb 11, 2020

Morning brief




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As of 6am, Feb 11, 2020:

WORLD COUNT: There are 42,760 confirmed cases of the () in the world. A total of 28 countries and territories have been affected so far. The number of deaths has risen to 1,013, breaching the 1,000 mark. Across the world, a total of 6,495 are in critical condition, while 4,097 previously infected persons have recovered.

There are four cruise ships around the world affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The Diamond Princess has been under quarantine in Japan since Feb 4, with 135 people onboard infected with the coronavirus. More than 2,000 people are stuck on the Westerdam cruise ship after it was not allowed to enter is final destination of Japan. While they currently have no confirmed cases aboard, they are scheduled to dock in Laem Chabang, Thailand on Thursday (Feb 13) after Japan and the Philippines closed their docks to cruise ships. There are over 3,600 people aboard the World Dream cruise ship. It has been quarantined for five days in Hong Kong after three former passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. No confirmed cases have been found. The Anthem of the Seas was docked in New Jersey for two days more as four passengers were sent to the hospital for coronavirus screenings. The four, who are family members, and 23 other passengers were all cleared of infection.

CHINA: There are 40,199 confirmed cases of infection in China. The country’s death count now stands at 908 people. On Monday (Feb 10), China began going back to work. The Lunar New Year holiday was extended and quarantine for hundreds of millions was enforced in order to mitigate the virus spread. While some companies are slowly resuming operations, many employees remain under quarantine, working from home as much as possible. In Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, hundreds of volunteers have organized themselves into groups using China’s popular messaging app WeChat, where they respond to the requests of medics, driving health care workers, delivering medical resources and supplies to hospitals, and providing accommodation and food to hardworking medical professionals. Of all the patients confirmed to have the in mainland China, 8.2 percent have been cured, said officials at the country’s National Health Commission (NHC). In Wuhan, 6.1 percent of patients have been cured and showed no signs of the virus. The coronavirus outbreak has increased the cost of food in China, among other things. AirBnB has announced that because of the coronavirus outbreak, all listings in Beijing will be suspended from Feb 7 to Feb 29.

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There are now 42 confirmed cases in Hong Kong, after the country announced that it had six new cases of the virus. Macao has not reported any new cases of the virus, with the country’s total at 10.

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported two new cases of the virus, bringing the countrywide total up to 45. The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that all large-scale events will be cancelled or postponed after the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) alert level was raised to the second highest level, code orange. The HSBC Women’s Golf World Championship scheduled to be held in Singapore from Feb 27 to Mar 1 and the 2020 Honda LPGA Thailand tournament scheduled for Feb 20 to 23 will also be cancelled for health reasons.

ASEAN: Malaysia reported one new case of the coronavirus in the country, raising the total number of cases to 18. No other countries in the region confirmed new cases of the coronavirus.

ASIA: The Japanese government announced that it is working to increase the domestic production of face masks in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, with major  manufacturers working around the clock to make new masks. The country reported 65 cases of the virus and now has a total of 161 cases. Taiwan, which has 18 cases of the virus, put in place new travel restrictions—most people travelling from Hong Kong and Macao will be banned from entering the country. Exceptions are business travellers, “internal transfers of multinational companies” and spouses and minors of those holding residence permits. South Korea announced a temporary suspension entry for all cruise ships amid the coronavirus outbreak. However, cruise ships that need to dock without people getting off, such as for refuelling and stocking up supplies, will still be allowed in port. Kia Motors announced a suspension on nearly all production lines at its three South Korea factories today, due to “the problem of wiring harness supplies from China”. The country has 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Kazakhstan, which has no confirmed cases of the virus, said it was sending two Air Astana planes to evacuate Kazakh citizens from China. The flights were set to depart from Kazakhstan to Beijing on Monday (Feb 10) and Wednesday (Feb 12). The United Arab Emirates reported one new case of the coronavirus, bringing the country’s total to 8 cases. No other countries in the region confirmed new cases of the coronavirus.

EUROPE: The World Health Organization (WHO)’s team of international experts arrived in China on Monday (Feb 10) to help in the fight against the coronavirus. WHO says this is an “advance” team and that a “larger international team” ranging from 10 to 15 will join them in China “as soon as possible”. The United Kingdom doubled its with the addition of four new confirmed cases, raising the country total to 8. Two of the four infections are healthcare workers, and British authorities are conducting contact tracing. The UK government has declared the coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat to public health”. Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, and Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes, England have been assigned as “isolation facilities”. Spain, which currently has two cases of the virus, is scheduled to host the Mobile World Congress 2020 from Feb 24 to 27.
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Tech giants Amazon and Sony are the latest firms to pull out of the Congress amidst the coronavirus spread. No other countries in the region confirmed new cases of the coronavirus.

AMERICA: A top infectious disease doctor from the United States, which currently has 12 cases of the coronavirus, said travel restrictions are ineffective against the spread of the virus, which has become a “diffuse outbreak”. The Trump administration has proposed cuts to global health programs during the coronavirus epidemic—a nearly US$65 million (S$90 million) proposed cut to the World Health Organization and a 34 percent overall cut to Global Health Programs. However, it proposed US$115 million (S$160 million) for Global Health Security. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed 398 people under investigation for the virus across 37 states, of which 12 have tested positive, 318 negative and 68 are still pending. No other countries in the region confirmed new cases of the coronavirus.

AUSTRALIA: Australia, which currently has 15 confirmed cases of the virus, did not report any new cases. Australian experts from the New South Wales Health Pathology lab have successfully grown the live coronavirus from patients rather than synthetic specimens. This breakthrough will allow health experts around the world to be able to contain the spread of among the population faster. “We’re proud to be able to share our discovery with the World Health Organization, and international researchers and clinicians, so together we ultimately help save lives,” said their statement. New Zealand still has no cases of the virus in the country.

AFRICA: As of yet, no confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been reported in the region.

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