January 31 coronavirus news
Sixty-two countries have implemented some form of immigration control on Chinese citizens, as the deadly coronavirus has spread from Wuhan -- capital of China's Hubei province -- around the world.
Six countries have tightened visa rules for Chinese citizens, four have restricted Chinese citizens' entry into their countries, and five have launched restrictive measures on anyone from Hubei or with recent travel history to the province, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Forty-seven countries have required Chinese citizens to undergo temperature checks and submit health declarations, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry advised Chinese citizens to arrange travel plans based on their health, and obey immigration regulations of their destination countries.
A woman among the 180 French nationals evacuated from China by plane has been taken to hospital after she showed symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus, France’s Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said in a press conference Friday.
Buzyn said there were many families and children on board.
“They are tired and happy to be back on French soil. I think they feel safe,” Buzyn said.
Buzyn said nurses and psychologists were on hand at the resort near Marseille, where the French citizens will be quarantined for the next 14 days.
Inside the resort, the evacuees will have to wear a mask and their temperature will be checked twice a day, according to Buzyn.
England's first two confirmed novel coronavirus patients have been transferred to a specialist infection unit in Newcastle, the UK's Department of Health and Social Care said in a Twitter thread.
The Department said the "risk to the public has not changed as a result" of the cases.
A flight transporting British nationals from Wuhan landed in the UK this afternoon. Those passengers will be transferred to a National Health Service accommodation facility, where they will stay in quarantine for 14 days.
In quarantine, they will be able to access a team of specialist medical staff, who will closely monitor their condition and will be regularly assessed for symptoms as a precaution. They will also have “fully furnished rooms, food, Wifi, toys and games for children, and laundry facilities” provided free of charge by the government.
"Our priority is to make sure the UK public is safe," the health department said, adding that the quarantine was a "precaution" and that health officials were working to "ensure their comfort and well-being."
Health officials in Singapore have suspended visas for China and banned visitors who have recently traveled to mainland China.
People who have been to mainland China within the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit through the Asian city state, according to the Singaporean Ministry of Health. The ministry also announced that it would stop issuing new visas and suspend short term and multiple term visas for travelers with passports from the People’s Republic of China.
The measures are aimed at minimizing the virus' spread in Singapore, where there are currently 13 confirmed cases.
Russia has identified its first two Wuhan coronavirus cases, both Chinese citizens, Russia's TASS news agency reported, citing Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Tatyana Golikova.
One patient is being treated in Zabaikalsky region, which borders China, with the second case detected in the Tyumen region in Western Siberia, which borders Kazakhstan, TASS reports.
According to Golikova, Russia will begin evacuating its citizens from Chinese provinces of Wuhan and Hubei, where there are 300 and 341 Russians respectively.
China has chartered two flights to Southeast Asia to pick up stranded Chinese travelers from Hubei Province, the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus that has spread across the globe.
Arranged by the government, two Boeing 737-800 jets took off from the southeastern city of Xiamen on Friday afternoon, bound for Bangkok, Thailand, and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The charter flights are expected to bring 217 Hubei residents stranded in the two locations back to Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, on Friday night, CAAC said.
The statement added that passengers would be billed for their flight.
Technically flights into Wuhan are allowed but all departures are banned -- except special flights, such as evacuation flights. But almost all airlines have canceled their Wuhan flights (both international and domestic), making it nearly impossible for these travelers to find alternative flights home.
Japan confirmed three new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 17, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Of the three new cases, one is a female bus guide who developed a fever after working with a driver that had contracted the virus. The other two cases are men in their 30s and 50s who returned from Wuhan on government-chartered flights on Thursday. Both men showed no symptoms of the virus.
Italian Cabinet on Friday declared a state of emergency, a day after two Chinese tourists were the nation’s first confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus.
The two tourists had arrived in Rome a few days earlier, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced at a press conference Thursday evening.
Italy has also suspended flights to and from China.
Five additional cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Thailand, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 19, Thailand��s Ministry of Public Health announced in a press briefing on Friday afternoon.
Four out of the five new cases are Chinese citizens from Wuhan. The fifth case is a Thai taxi driver. He is the first Thai citizen infected with the virus who has no record of traveling to China, but was exposed to individuals who had traveled from China. Two of the 19 cases are Thai citizens.
All of the infected cases are in good condition, according to Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Sukhum Kanchanapimai. Only 12 cases remain in hospital, all in good condition, per the ministry.
The virus is also taking a toll on Thailand’s tourism sector. The Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mr.Yuttasak Supasorn, told CNN around 80% of flights booking out of China to Thailand have been cancelled in the period from February to April. The estimated loss is about 95 billion baht [over 3 million USD]. He expected it would take at least 4 to 5 months to recover based on the SARS outbreak experience.
He added, “We have reassured to travelers that Thailand is not an outbreak area and we have good measures in place.”