February 13 coronavirus news
The World Health Organization’s representative to North Korea said that there has been no cases of the novel coronavirus reported by the North Korean health ministry, in a written statement to CNN on Wednesday.
Edwin Ceniza Salvador said the WHO is working with all member states – including North Korea – to respond to the virus. North Korea, “like other countries, is taking measures to protect health of its people,” Salvador said.
The WHO is providing laboratory reagents and personal protective equipment such as goggles, gloves, masks, and gowns to the country at the request of the North Korean Ministry of Public Health, the statement added.
Outbreak prevention: Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, North Korea has been reporting almost daily on the regime's efforts to prevent the infection.
North Korean state-run news service, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), reported on Wednesday that North Korea was extending its coronavirus quarantine period from 15 days to 30 days.
Nearly every country and territory in East Asia has confirmed cases of novel coronavirus. So why hasn't North Korea?
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The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is definitely going ahead this summer, officials said, amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said on Thursday that the Tokyo organizing committee is not considering cancelling the Games due to the coronavirus, according to Reuters.
"Regarding the coronavirus which started in Hubei province in China, there were irresponsible rumours," Mori told reporters in Tokyo. "I would like to clearly reiterate that cancellation or postponement of Tokyo Games are not being considered."
Mori added that the organizing committee has set up a task force that has begun "sharing information for the prevention of the infection."
A senior organizer had previously warned that the outbreak could impact Japan's preparations for the Games.
"I am extremely worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the Games," said Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK. "I hope that it will be stamped out as soon as possible."
Fanfare beginning: Nevertheless, the fanfare around Tokyo 2020, which is due to officially begin on Friday, July 24, is well underway.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also dispelled concerns that the Summer Olympics would be canceled after false rumors circulated online.
"We will take appropriate measures so that the preparation for the Olympic games will proceed without affecting them," Abe told a parliamentary committee.
In an announcement to passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship this afternoon, Captain Stefano Ravera gave more details on which passengers will be allowed to disembark early.
Ravera said that everybody over the age of 80 has now been tested for the novel coronavirus.
The captain said that those who will be given the option of disembarking early are:
- Passengers 80 years or over with a chronic medical condition, and who test negative for the virus.
- Passengers 80 years or over staying in an inside cabin, and who test negative for the virus.
- Other passengers under 80 who have been given a test for any other reason, and tested negative.
Those passengers will still have to remain in a “housing facility managed by the Japanese government” until the end of the quarantine. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive will not be allowed to disembark.
Passengers who test positive will continue to be moved to on-shore hospitals.
2 weeks on lockdown: More than 3,700 passengers and crew are stuck on the cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan that is essentially a floating quarantine zone. The ship was placed under quarantine on February 4 and it isn't scheduled to be lifted until February 19.
Pharmacies in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing have been banned from selling all fever and cough medicine in the hope that residents with fever or coughing will seek treatment in hospitals instead, Nanjing's propaganda department posted on its official Weibo account.
This follows similar policy in the eastern city of Hangzhou, according to the statement.
Meanwhile in Beijing, pharmacies are being urged to register all customers who buy fever and cough medicine.
They are required to register their names, addresses, ID card numbers and contact information, as well as the symptoms, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.
The organizers behind Shanghai Fashion Week, which was scheduled to take place from March 26 to April 2, announced Monday via the Chinese social media platform WeChat that the event would be postponed due to the novel coronavirus.
"We will actively search for (new) times and ways, and maintain close communication with partners who care for and support Shanghai Fashion Week," read the post. "We will strive to promote the development of the fashion industry," the statement continued.
China Fashion Week, the country's other major fashion event in Beijing, scheduled to start on March 25, has yet to publicly announce if it will postpone or cancel its event. CNN has reached out for comment.
Shining star in the region: In recent years, Shanghai Fashion Week has grown to become one of the most ambitious fashion weeks in the region, as well as home to Asia's largest fashion trade fair, China International Fashion Fair. It has drawn international names like Vera Wang, Jenny Peckham and Vivienne Tam to show on its runways. It has also served as a platform for some of China's most notable and well-known designers
Hub for young designers: China Fashion Week is also likely to suffer if a cancellation does happen. Less internationally established, the event has recently been positioning itself as a hub for young designers, and showed new efforts to amplify its global reputation by partnering with the China edition of Women's Wear Daily (WWD).
Read more here.
Wuhan Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang has been replaced, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
Wang Zhonglin, party chief of Jinan city in Shandong province, has taken over his position.
It's the latest move in a major shakeup of provincial leadership in China as the coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of abating at the epicenter in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.
Also today, Hubei province's Communist Party chief Jiang Chaoliang was replaced with Shanghai's mayor, Ying Yong.
These replacements come after two officials in charge of Hubei's provincial health authority were sacked earlier this week.
The Chinese province at the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak reported a record spike in deaths Thursday, bringing the total number to more than 1,300 infections globally.
Hubei announced an additional 242 deaths and 14,840 cases of the virus as of Thursday morning, the largest single-day rise since the epidemic began and almost 10 times the number of cases confirmed the previous day.
The government explained the spike is due to a change in how cases are tabulated.
What now counts as a confirmed case? The total will now include "clinically diagnosed cases" after rising numbers of residents complained about the difficulty in getting tested and treated for the virus.
Who falls into that category? "Clinically diagnosed cases" are those patients who demonstrate all the symptoms of the novel coronavirus but have been unable to be scientifically tested, or died before they were tested.
What effect will this have? The hope is that more people will be able to receive treatment by allowing doctors to diagnose them with the virus.
Case number confusion: The massive increase in the number of cases exposes confusion over just how to diagnose the virus globally.
Delayed diagnosis: Delays in diagnosing the virus could be significant. There are reports of patients waiting up to a week for their results, as the testing kits were sent from Hubei to a lab in Beijing. While there have been efforts to speed up the process, scientific testing of samples is difficult and time consuming, and allowing doctors to diagnose patients will enable far more people to receive treatment, including in several purpose-built hospitals dedicated to treating the virus in Wuhan.
Not just China: In the US, the CDC currently requires that all potential samples are shipped to its central laboratories for full testing.
Read the full story here.
The Hong Kong government has announced that it is extending its work-from-home arrangement for civil servants until February 23, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Government workers had been asked to work from home following the end of the Lunar New Year holiday on January 29.
That has now been extended "to reduce social contacts and the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the community," a government statement said.
The directive excludes emergency service workers and people who work for essential public services.
The private sector has also been urged to make similar flexible work arrangements.
Hong Kong has reported 50 confirmed cases of the virus, with one death.
The global number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases now stands at more than 60,000 in at least 27 countries and territories, with the vast majority in mainland China.
Outside of mainland China, there have been 568 confirmed cases and two deaths -- in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
A cruise ship docked in Japan carrying 3,700 passengers and crew has the largest outbreak of the virus outside of China, with 219 cases, including one quarantine officer.
Here's the latest rundown:
1. Australia (15 cases)
2. Belgium (1 case)
3. Cambodia (1 case)
4. Canada (7 cases)
5. Finland (1 case)
6. France (11 cases)
7. Germany (16 cases)
8. Hong Kong (50 cases, 1 death)
9. India (3 cases)
10. Italy (3 cases)
11. Japan (247 total: 28 cases on land + 219 from cruise ship)
12. Macao (10 cases)
13. Malaysia (18 cases)
14. Nepal (1 case)
15. Philippines (3 cases, 1 death)
16. Russia (2 cases)
17. Singapore (50 cases)
18. South Korea (28 cases)
19. Spain (2 cases)
20. Sri Lanka (1 case)
21. Sweden (1 case)
22. Taiwan (18 cases)
23. Thailand (33 cases)
24. United Arab Emirates (8 cases)
25. United Kingdom (9 cases)
26. United States (14 cases)
27. Vietnam (15 cases)
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