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Morning brief: Wuhan coronavirus update for Feb 7, 2020

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As of 5am, Feb 7, 2020:

WORLD COUNT: There are 28,379 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the world. A total of 28 countries and territories have been affected so far. The number of deaths has risen to 566. Across the world, a total of 3,863 are in critical condition, while 1,431 previously infected persons have recovered.

CHINA: There are 28,104 confirmed cases of infection in China. The country’s death count now stands at 564 people. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that two newborn babies in Wuhan, China, have been infected with the virus, with the youngest baby diagnosed at only 30 hours old. As the baby’s mother was also infected with the virus, CCTV hinted at the possibility of “mother-infant transmission”, where the mother passes the virus on to the baby in utero. Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, built another medical facility for treating coronavirus patients in a matter of days. Chinese whistleblower doctor, Li Wenliang, who was told off by Wuhan Police when he warned people of a “SARS-like” disease in December 2019, has reportedly died of the virus in Wuhan. Wuhan Central Hospital confirmed his death just before 3am on Friday morning (Feb 7). Hong Kong reported three new cases of the virus on Thursday (Feb 6), bringing the country’s tally up to 24 cases. The 3,600 passengers and crew members quarantined on the cruise ship World Dream, which is currently docked at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, will be held for the time being while tests are being done.

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Thursday (Feb 6), bringing the total number of people infected in the country to 30. MOH added that both of the cases had no recent travel history to China. The first one, a 41-year-old, does not seem to have a connection with previously confirmed cases. He is currently in isolation, and the MOH is in the process of contact tracing to establish any contact he might have had with confirmed cases in the country of travellers hailing from mainland China. The second new case confirmed is a 27-year-old Singaporean who also had no recent travel history to China. MOH reported that he is one of the four Singaporeans being checked over at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) after going to a business meeting at Grand Hyatt Singapore from Jan 20 to 22. Meeting participants included people from the Hubei province, as well as the confirmed cases from South Korea and Malaysia. Contact tracing for this case is also ongoing, MOH added.

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ASEAN: Vietnam confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), family members of a worker with the virus who returned from Wuhan, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases to 12. Schools across all 63 cities and provinces in Vietnam will continue to stay closed as schools clean and disinfect classrooms and campuses. Malaysia reported two more cases of the virus, increasing its total confirmed cases to 14. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus.

ASIA: Taiwan reported five more cases of the coronavirus on Thursday (Feb 6), bringing the total to 16. The country has issued a travel advisory for travellers coming from Hong Kong and Macao. Residents from those countries are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering Taiwan. This new measure will be effective from Friday (Feb 7). Other foreign citizens who have been to China, Hong Kong and Macao in the past 14 days will be denied entry into Taiwan. Uzbekistan has evacuated the last of its citizens from China—totalling 251—on Uzbekistan Airways. That was its third and last evacuation flight. All passengers are now quarantined in the country in “temporary accommodation.” Saudi Arabia has momentarily suspended travel to China for Saudi citizens and residents. Non-Saudi permanent residents who have recent travel history in China will not be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia for the time period. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus.

EUROPE: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it plans to speed up the  research and innovation on the novel coronavirus into high gear, with a global forum in Geneva that will take place on Feb 11 and 12. The United Kingdom reported its third case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Thursday (Feb 6). The man allegedly caught the virus in Singapore and tested positive for it in Brighton before being taken to hospital in London. The UK government announced that all travellers arriving in the UK from the following Asian countries conduct self-quarantine, check for symptoms and contact the National Health Service (NHS):

  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Hong Kong
  • Macao

Germany confirmed a new case of the virus in the state of Bavaria. The country’s new case count is 13. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus.

AMERICA: The United States ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva has urged the WHO to “engage directly with Taiwan public health authorities” in the fight against the coronavirus. Taiwan, which has 16 cases of the virus, is not a member of the UN or the WHO. The WHO said that it is “collaborating closely with Taiwanese authorities through the International Health Regulations mechanism in response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak.” The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun shipping coronavirus test kits to different state labs this week. The tests will allow states to confirm their own cases of the virus in four hours’ time. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged up to US$100 million (S$138.7 million) to help find a vaccine for the virus, limit its spread and improve the detection and treatment of patients. The US currently has 12 cases of the coronavirus.

AUSTRALIA: Australian citizens and residents who were evacuated out of Wuhan have landed on Christmas Island. The 36 passengers will be under quarantine for 14 days. New Zealand reported that a plane carrying 190 passengers out of Wuhan—with 98 of its residents—has landed back in the country. All will be placed under quarantine for two weeks. 

AFRICA: As of yet, no confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been reported in the region. The West African country of Equatorial Guinea has given US$2 million (S$2.8 million) to China to help combat the virus, in a show of “solidarity”.

 

Here are the airlines around the world that have reduced or suspended flights to mainland China to minimise the spread of the coronavirus:

North America

  • American Airlines: Suspended until March 27
  • United Airlines: Suspended until March 28
  • Delta: Suspended until April 30
  • Air Canada: Suspended until February 29

Asia and Oceania

  • Air Asia: Some flights suspended until February 29
  • All Nippon: Some flights suspended until March 29
  • Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon: 90% reduction in flights
  • Japan Airlines: Some flights suspended until March 28
  • Korean Air: Some flights suspended until the end of March
  • Singapore Airlines and SilkAir: Some flights suspended until March 1
  • Qantas: Suspended until March 29
  • Air New Zealand: Suspended until March 29

Europe and the Middle East

  • Air France: Suspended until February 9
  • British Airways: Suspended until February 29
  • Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines: Beijing and Shanghai flights suspended until February 29; other routes until March 28
  • Turkish Airlines: Suspended until the end of February
  • Etihad: Suspended from February 5
  • Emirates: Suspended from February 5
  • Qatar Airways: Suspended until further notice
  • Finnair: Beijing and Shanghai flights suspended until February 29; other routes to March 29
  • KLM: Beijing and Shanghai flights suspended until February 9; other routes to February 29
  • Iberia: Suspended until February 29

/TISG

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