February 7 coronavirus news
An additional 41 people have tested positive for the coronavirus on the cruise ship currently docked and quarantined in Japan's Yokohama Bay, bringing the total to 61 infections on board.
This is where the 61 people are from:
- Argentina (1)
- Australia (7)
- Canada (7)
- Hong Kong (3)
- Japan (28)
- New Zealand (1)
- Philippines (1)
- Taiwan (1)
- United Kingdom (1)
- United States (11)
A statement from Princess Cruises said the Japanese Ministry of Health has confirmed this is the last batch of people on the ship to be tested.
Quarantined at sea: The ship will be quarantined until February 19 unless there are any other unexpected developments. There are more than 3,700 passengers and crew members on board.
Those quarantined on board will be provided complimentary internet and phone service to stay in touch with family and loved ones, cruise operator Princess Cruises said in a statement today.
"In addition, we have added additional live TV channels and a large selection of in-room movies available in multiple languages. The cruise activities staff is packaging games, puzzles and trivia and delivering them to guest staterooms," the statement said.
China's National Supervisory Commission, the country's top anti-corruption agency, is sending a team to Wuhan to investigate the case of doctor Li Wenliang "in response to issues raised by the masses," the agency said today.
The brief statement didn't elaborate on the "issues" -- but a glance on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, reveal what these may be.
A whistleblower silenced: Li died late Thursday night from the coronavirus, after sounding the alarm on the outbreak in December. He was targeted by police and labeled a "rumor-monger," and later was diagnosed with the virus.
His death was met with extreme grief and rare fury online. Weibo users have flooded the platform with calls for accountability, greater freedom of speech, and an apology from the Wuhan government.
Japan’s fourth charter flight evacuating citizens from Wuhan has landed in Tokyo, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A total of 198 Japanese citizens and their family members were on board, and will now be placed under mandatory quarantine, said the ministry.
The previous three flights have already repatriated more than 550 Japanese evacuees from Wuhan.
Chinese officials praised the country's response to the coronavirus crisis at a news conference today -- but sidestepped questions about the death of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang.
The virus, which has killed 636 people in mainland China, can be "prevented, contained, and cured," said Xie Feng, commissioner of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong.
"It is the strength of China’s system that reflects such confidence," he added.
He emphasized China's speed in responding to the outbreak, claiming "governments at all levels in China were immediately mobilized."
Fact check: In the weeks after the virus was first detected, authorities clamped down with knee-jerk censorship. Communist Party officials downplayed the severity of the virus, police targeted "rumormongers" like Li Wenliang, and online censors deleted anything that questioned the official line.
As the crisis has worsened, it has become clear that the failure to take quick action likely undermined any chance of containing the virus.
On Li Wenliang: When asked whether the government should apologize for the death of Li Wenliang, Xie Feng didn't answer directly, only reading out a brief statement from the Wuhan government that expressed "deepest condolences" to Li's family.
On censorship: Despite heavy anger from the Chinese public against the government and its censors, Xie Feng claimed there was freedom of speech in mainland China.
”The Chinese enjoy freedom of speech and access to information according to the law," he said. “If you go online you can see how freely and (actively) people online engage in lively discussions about the epidemic."
China's National Health Commission confirmed last night that 73 more people have died of the Wuhan coronavirus, raising the global death toll to 638.
- In mainland China: 636
- Outside mainland China: 2
- Global total: 638
- In mainland China: 31,161
- Outside mainland China: 318 (plus two cases pending confirmation in Canada)
- Global total: 31,479
Some context: The vast majority of these cases and deaths are happening in China, and within that country it's concentrated in Hubei province, where the outbreak began.
In Hubei alone, the death toll stands at 618 and total confirmed cases is at 22,112.
Hubei's health authority also reported that 841 patients of the 15,804 hospitalized are in critical condition.
South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare confirmed one new case of Wuhan coronavirus today, bringing the national total to 24 confirmed cases.
The patient was one of two South Koreans who were evacuated from Wuhan and tested for infection today. The other did not test positive.
The death of Chinese whistleblower Li Wenliang after he became infected with the novel coronavirus has sparked an unprecedented outpouring of grief and anger toward the government in China. On social media, mourners have posted portraits and artwork of Li, vowing not to forget him.
But one of the reasons his death was met with such deep emotion from the public was because he was just an ordinary person they could relate to. He hadn't set out to be a hero from the beginning -- he was simply trying to protect his friends.
He first warned about the disease in a group chat with fellow medical school classmates and alumni -- messages that were screen-captured and then went viral.
"I only wanted to remind my university classmates to be careful," he told CNN earlier this week.
Li hadn't wanted to become a public figure -- he was first interviewed anonymously by the China Youth Daily newspaper, and initially refused to speak with foreign media.
But as the outbreak spread and its severity became clear, he spoke more publicly, eventually posting about his experience on social media.
A relatable figure: On Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, Li posted trivial things about himself.
He was a foodie who sometimes craved ice cream and fried chicken. He was a fanboy of certain celebrities, watched popular TV series, and sometimes complained about work, as you do on social media.
In other words, he was an ordinary, relatable figure. People who flocked to his social media profile resonated with him and his tragedy, and came away with the sense: He's one of us.
An evacuation flight bringing Canadian citizens out of Wuhan has departed with 176 passengers on board, according to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne.
The Canadian evacuees were checked by health officials for symptoms before entering the airport and boarding the plane, and will be continuously monitored during the flight, said officials yesterday.
They will be checked again and quarantined once they land.
Nearly every country and territory in East Asia has confirmed a case of the Wuhan coronavirus since the outbreak began in December -- but not North Korea.
One of the world's poorest countries has managed to avoid the virus, its public statements say -- even though every country and territory within a 1,500-mile radius, except for sparsely populated Mongolia, has confirmed a case.
What this means: It's unclear how North Korea has been able to avoid the virus. Pyongyang has either been very lucky, isn't saying something, or is reaping one of the few benefits of being a so-called "hermit nation."
Pyongyang has not publicly acknowledged any confirmed coronavirus patients, but it's very possible someone inside North Korea has been infected, said Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University and former head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS),
Nam suspects a Chinese patient could have infected someone from North Korea across their shared border.
"We know that the Chinese regions close to the North Korean border, such as Dandong and Shenyang, have confirmed patients. About 90% of North Korean trade is with China and we know so many people, trucks and trains passed through the border between the two nations before North Korea installed recent regulations" to stop the virus from getting into the country, Nam told CNN.