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  1. #46

    Re: Virus Updates and Discussion

    Thanks for this. It does give one pause doesn't it?
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  2. #47

    Re: Virus Updates and Discussion

  3. #48

    Re: Virus Updates and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Thanks for this. It does give one pause doesn't it?
    On your way to the biohazard-suit shop? Sure...
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  4. #49

    Re: Virus Updates and Discussion

    Confusion mounts over China’s counting methods as coronavirus numbers swing wildly

    By Gerry Shih, Miriam Berger

    BEIJING — Authorities in Hubei province reported good news Thursday: There were only 349 new coronavirus cases the previous day, the lowest tally in weeks.

    The bad — and puzzling — news? Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, reported 615 new cases all by itself.

    As Chinese leaders and state media strike a coordinated note this week about the government’s ability to contain the outbreak, inconsistencies and sudden changes in official data are leaving experts — and journalists — struggling to plot meaningful trends, or even place any confidence in the figures coming from government.

    Early Friday, China’s National Health Commission reported new infections increased again to 889. There are now a cumulative total of 75,465 infections and 2,236 deaths, mostly in Hubei province, the agency said.

    Hubei authorities have changed their criteria for counting cases twice in the past week. An earlier change that international researchers applauded led to a sudden spike in case numbers on Feb. 12. And the latest shift, the sixth time that national guidelines have been edited since Jan. 15, caused an overnight drop in new cases from 1,693 to 349.

    Jonathan Read, an epidemiologist at England’s Lancaster University, said case definitions sometimes do need to be edited as authorities come to grips with how a novel pathogen manifests itself.

    “That said, it is very unhelpful for surveillance purposes to change how you define a case too often,” he said.

    The latest inconsistency — under which one city appeared to have more cases than the total in the province — apparently arose because Hubei province deducted cases that have not been confirmed through genetic tests from a total reported case number, which includes all diagnoses made by physicians using other methods.

    At best, the constant changes have frustrated scholars. At worst, they have raised suspicions.

    “Sloppiness of cheating the case # is getting to level of ridiculous,” Eric Feigl-Ding, a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said on Twitter.

    There is no smoking gun suggesting that Chinese officials fabricate numbers — at least not since late January. But many researchers say the official figures probably underestimate the true numbers because of limited testing capacity and the prevalence of cases with mild or no symptoms. That is why having case numbers collected with consistent methodology would help scholars chart the general contours, if not the precise values, of how the epidemic is unfolding.

    When cases spiked on Feb. 12, which coincided with China’s ruling Communist Party naming several new officials to oversee Hubei and Wuhan provinces, Chinese political observers predicted that the move allowed the new regime to wipe the slate clean and be able to show progress. That prediction has been largely borne out.

    The party boss of Wuhan, Wang Zhonglin, has ordered a citywide sweep to find all remaining cases of coronavirus infections so that the city would have “baseline” statistics to work with. At the same time, he issued a warning to local party cadres: If one more case were to be found in a household, he said, that district’s party secretary would be held accountable.

    Politics aside, innate limitations in scientific modeling also pose challenges for the coronavirus count.

    Covid-19′s fatality rate is around 2 percent, according to preliminary numbers. But that figure could be skewed in multiple ways, said Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. It’s often difficult to determine whether coronavirus was the central cause of death or a contributor. Along with cases doctors don’t yet know about, there are also recently infected patients whose survival remains uncertain. Fatality rates differ significantly across demographics.

    While public health authorities are releasing primary medical data, scientists around the world are also poring over secondary sources and publishing studies based on those. Rivers said these sources are helpful for experts, but cautioned they can be confusing for a public that doesn’t know how to interpret the literature.

    Knowing the severity of a disease is critical for modeling who might die and what demographics are most likely to burden a health system. For now, said John Allen Paulos, a professor of mathematics at Temple University, there’s an innate level of uncertainty around coronavirus figures.

    The numbers are “nebulous and unclear,” he said. “We don’t know and for the time being we need to take whatever precautions might work.”

  5. #50

    Re: Virus Updates and Discussion

    Long story short: they're lying
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  6. #51

    Re: Virus Updates and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Long story short: they're lying
    Changing the criteria of the virus 6 times in one month?

  7. #52

    Re: Virus Updates and Discussion

    Coronavirus outbreak edges closer to pandemic

    Carolyn Y. Johnson,
    Lena H. Sun,
    William Wan and
    Joel Achenbach
    Feb. 22, 2020 at 2:26 p.m. EST

    In South Korea, coronavirus cases surged 14-fold over a week, creating the largest center of infection outside China. In Singapore, clusters of infection have been traced to two churches, a hotel business meeting, a health products shop and a construction site. In Italy, health authorities confirmed more than 50 cases over two days, in the biggest eruption so far in Europe. In Iran, an outbreak has seeded new cases in Lebanon and Canada — a worrisome sign the disease could be spreading more widely than realized.

    There are outbreaks. There are epidemics. And there are pandemics, where epidemics become rampant in multiple countries and continents simultaneously. The novel coronavirus that causes the disease named covid-19 is on the verge of that third, globe-shaking stage.

    Amid an alarming surge in cases with no clear link to China, infectious disease experts believe the flulike illness may soon be impossible to contain. The World Health Organization has not declared covid-19 a pandemic and the most devastating effects, including more than 2,200 deaths, are still in China. But the language coming from the organization’s Geneva headquarters has turned more ominous in recent days as the challenge of containment grows more daunting.

    “The window of opportunity is still there, but the window of opportunity is narrowing,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday. “We need to act quickly before it closes completely.”

    At the beginning of any disease outbreak, public health experts painstakingly trace the contacts of every person who becomes sick. The experts build a family tree of possible illness, with branches that include anyone who might have shaken hands with, or been sneezed on, by an infected person. But with confirmed infections approaching 80,000 people, contact tracing on a case-by-case basis could soon be impractical.

    If the coronavirus becomes a true pandemic, a large proportion of the human population — a third, a half, two-thirds even — could become infected, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they will get sick. The word ‘pandemic’ invokes fear, but it describes how widespread an outbreak may be, not its deadliness.

    “If we went across the whole world and had a magic ball and were able to detect everyone who’s positive, we’d see it in lots of countries,” said Michael Mina, an infectious disease specialist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “It’s never clear until it’s happening.

    Experts suspect the virus is spreading stealthily.

    “I think we should assume that this virus is very soon going to be spreading in communities here, if it isn’t already, and despite aggressive actions, we should be putting more efforts to mitigate impacts,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and senior scholar the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “That means protecting people who are most likely to develop severe illness and die.”

    The count in Italy jumped to 58 cases within days, concentrated in the prosperous Lombardy region, and neighboring Veneto. A 78-year-old man became the country’s first coronavirus death on Friday, and on Saturday, an elderly woman who had also tested positive for the virus was found dead in her home. But authorities said the woman suffered from other health problems, and it was unclear whether she had died from the virus.

    Veneto’s regional president, Luca Zaia, said it is becoming harder to track the virus’ jump from one place to the next.

    “It goes to show you that having other cases of contagion is absolutely possible,” Zaia said.

    The virus would be easier to contain if people who are contagious were obviously so, as was the case with SARS, which started an outbreak that burned itself out in 2003. But the new virus appears to spread among people who are not always noticeably sick. In fact, most cases of covid-19 have been mild. Taxi drivers and people at business meetings have spread the illness, and among the more than 600 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who have tested positive, about half had no obvious symptoms.

    Reports that some patients are getting sick long after they were exposed are also raising questions about whether the incubation period of the virus is longer than 14 days, potentially casting doubt on current quarantine criteria.

    A new study from an international team of researchers, posted on a medical preprint site Monday, estimates that two-thirds of the coronavirus infections in Wuhan, China, before the travel restrictions imposed Jan. 23 were transmitted by people who were not documented as infected. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine this week suggested the disease reaches peak infectiousness shortly after people start to feel sick, spreading like the flu. A study published in JAMA on Friday chronicled the case of a 20-year-old Wuhan woman, who infected five relatives, even though she never showed signs of illness.

    “What we find is that this virus is going to be very difficult to contain,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease researcher at Columbia University and co-author of the study posted Monday. “Personally, I don’t think we can do it.”

    Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch estimates that 40 to 70 percent of the human population could potentially be infected by the virus if it becomes pandemic. Not all of those people would get sick, he noted. The estimated death rate from covid-19 — roughly two out of 100 confirmed infections — may also drop over time as researchers get a better understanding of how widely the virus has spread.

    The novel coronavirus may be particularly suited for stealth community transmission since its symptoms can be indistinguishable from those of a cold or flu, and testing capabilities are still being ramped up.

    Experts estimate it takes about a week for the number of people infected in a given community to double. Based on that, it would likely take several weeks for a new infection cluster to be picked up by a local health department, said Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. By mid-March, he estimated, officials should know if there is community transmission and a true pandemic.

    The virus has already infected people in every province in China and is now spreading in communities in Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan, according to Nancy Messonnier, a top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official.

    “I want to be clear that we are not seeing community spread here in the United States yet,” she said Friday. “But it’s very possible, even likely, that may eventually happen.”

    So far, the United States has 44 cases, most of them among repatriated passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, on which the virus become widespread while the ship was under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.

    “It is impossible to predict at this point if the current outbreak will progress to a true pandemic,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the U.S. coronavirus task force. “If a large number of countries are unsuccessful in preventing sustained multi-generation transmissions, then we could witness the next pandemic.”

    A pandemic is a line in the sand, and every expert has a slightly different definition for when an outbreak crosses it. Generally, it means that there are self-sustaining lines of infection in multiple countries and continents — where the family tree of possible illness begins to encompass the entire population.

    Some specialists remain optimistic that won’t happen, in part because the Chinese government has imposed extreme measures to keep people isolated in their homes. Although the cumulative number of cases keeps going up, the rate of increase has apparently slowed. Changes in how the Chinese are tracking cases has impeded efforts by outside experts to understand the numbers.

    “I don’t want to be complacent. I don’t want to say we’re out of the woods,” said Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiologist who traveled to China recently to assist with the epidemic response and who isolated himself for two weeks after returning. “But I think we’re not in as dire straits as we might be, and that’s because everyone is pulling together internationally.”

    WHO may be hesitant to declare a pandemic, as the label comes with significant political and economic consequences. When WHO last declared a pandemic for the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, the decision was later criticized by some countries, who felt the decision incited unnecessary fear and overly aggressive responses. The declaration, for example, prompted many countries to spend large sums on vaccines, even though the H1N1 strain of influenza proved to be relatively mild.

    The lethality of the new coronavirus remains difficult to estimate. But across the planet, many health systems are already preparing for a pandemic emergency. That includes making plans for treating people who are suspected of having the disease, and for protecting health-care workers.

    In China, the death of Li Wenliang, the doctor who was also a whistleblower about the new virus, underscored the risk to those on the front lines. More than 3,000 health-care workers have been infected according to a report from Chinese public health authorities.

    A major Boston health-care system set up emergency operations in late January — treating the threat like a fire in the building or the Boston Marathon bombing. At the University of Minnesota Medical Center, a “scrum” team was activated in early February to focus on the health system’s preparedness for possible patients.

    Public health experts are devising strategies on how to conserve N95 respirators, specialized masks that are in limited supply amid surging demand. They’re even thinking about seemingly small details like how to make sure patients don’t cause new infections if they use a touch screen to check in.

    “We have to be ready,” said Paul Biddinger, chief of the division of emergency preparedness for Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Extrapolating from some of the numbers we’ve seen on the impact to the health-care system in China, it means we’ll have to surge fast.”

    Min Joo Kim in Seoul, Amanda Coletta in Washington and Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli in Rome contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  8. #53

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Russia-linked disinformation campaign fueling coronavirus alarm, US says
    Arthur MACMILLAN, Shaun TANDON
    ,AFP•February 22, 2020

    Washington (AFP) - Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm about the new coronavirus, disrupting global efforts to fight the epidemic, US officials say.

    The disinformation campaign promotes unfounded conspiracy theories that the United States is behind the COVID-19 outbreak, in an apparent bid to damage the US image around the world by seizing on health concerns.

    State Department officials tasked with combating Russian disinformation told AFP that false personas are being used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to advance Russian talking points in multiple languages.

    "Russia's intent is to sow discord and undermine US institutions and alliances from within, including through covert and coercive malign influence campaigns," said Philip Reeker, the acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia.

    "By spreading disinformation about coronavirus, Russian malign actors are once again choosing to threaten public safety by distracting from the global health response," he said.

    The claims that have been circulating in recent weeks include allegations that the virus is a US effort to "wage economic war on China," that it is a biological weapon manufactured by the CIA or part of a Western-led effort "to push anti-China messages."

    US individuals including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, a philanthropist who has spent billions on global health programs, have also been falsely accused of involvement in the virus.

    The disinformation campaign was identified by US monitors in mid-January after Chinese officials announced a third death from the new coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

    More than 2,340 people have since died, mostly in China. The number of cases exceeds 76,000 and the virus has reached around 25 countries. Among them is Iran, which on Saturday ordered the closure of schools and universities in two cities, after a fifth death.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  9. #54

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Tina -#BlueWave2020

    The MAGAts here in AL are mad at trump because they are bringing those w/corona virus to AL. LOL
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  10. #55

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Coronavirus cases spike in Italy, China says most new infections limited to Hubei, South Korea declares ‘red alert’

    Adam Taylor,
    Chico Harlan,
    Min Joo Kim and
    Katie Mettler
    Feb. 23, 2020 at 1:15 p.m. EST

    The latest novel coronavirus figures from China suggest that the outbreak remains worst in locked-down Hubei province, where 630 new cases and 96 more deaths were reported Saturday evening.

    Outside China, the outbreak continued to spread. South Korea said Sunday that it was raising its national threat level to “red alert,” the highest level, after 169 new cases were confirmed Sunday; in Italy, the number of cases spiked to 152, the largest number outside Asia.

    ●The Italian government said it has 152 confirmed cases, up from three in a matter of days. Authorities have locked down roughly a dozen small towns and canceled events across the north, including Venice’s Carnival.

    ●The Chinese government reported 648 new cases across the country on Sunday and 97 deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 76,936, with 2,442 deaths.

    ●Three cruise ships have docked in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital, to house medical workers to help the city’s overburdened health-care system. On Sunday, Wuhan’s Union Jiangbei Hospital announced that a 29-year-old doctor had died of coronavirus, the second death of a young doctor in Hubei in recent days.

    ● A third passenger who had been aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died, according to Japan’s Health Ministry.

    ● South Korea raised its national threat level to “red alert” after cases spiked to 602, the first time the country has used the highest setting since the H1N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009.

    ● Iran has confirmed eight deaths related to the coronavirus, the most outside of China, media reported Sunday. South Korea confirmed its fifth and sixth deaths.

    HONG KONG — Coronavirus outbreaks in South Korea and Italy continued to expand rapidly on Sunday as both countries reported a slew of new cases and Italian authorities raced to seal off hot spot towns.

    While the latest Chinese figures showed new cases largely concentrated in Hubei, concern was growing about the virus in other parts of the world, including in Europe, which had yet to see a large-scale outbreak until now, and where containment efforts could test the continent's open-border ideals.

    South Korea reported a significant rise in cases on Sunday, with 169 new cases bringing the total to 602 and two more deaths for a total of six. Italy said the number of confirmed cases had reached 152, up from three in a matter of days.

    The sudden outbreak in Italy caught authorities there off guard, while triggering severe interruptions of the sort that have upended life in China. Universities across northern Italy, where the outbreak is concentrated, are shuttered; major soccer matches have been canceled. Venice's famed Carnival, which can draw more than 100,000 people daily, was suspended two days before its scheduled end.

    In the mostly smaller towns where the virus has been detected, checkpoints have been set up designed to prevent most people from entering or leaving.

    "We've already ordered police forces and law enforcement agencies to comply," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. "If necessary there will be armed forces too."

    But authorities admitted they were seeing cases, including two in Venice, that had no apparent connection to Chinese travelers or the closed-off Italian hot spots, which are mostly concentrated toward the south of Milan.

    A broader outbreak would be particularly complicated in Europe, where countries maintain open borders. Conte said changing that policy would be "draconian" and could be devastating for the Italian economy, which is among the weakest on the continent.

    The Chinese government announced there had been 648 more confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus outbreak as of late Saturday evening, bringing the total in mainland China to 76,936, with 97 more deaths from the outbreak bringing the total up to 2,442 across the nation.

    Within China, the outbreak remains worst in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged in December. The new official figures showed that the vast majority of new cases confirmed across China — 630 — were in the province, as were all but one of the new deaths.

    Hubei has been under lockdown since Jan. 23, an unprecedented organizational response to a health crisis. As of Sunday, three cruise ships had arrived in Wuhan to house medical workers for the city’s stretched health-care system, drawing mixed reactions from Chinese Internet users.

    Japan’s NHK reported the same day that cases had risen to 135 — not including the cases linked to the Diamond Princess, where at least 650 people who traveled aboard the ship are now confirmed cases.

    The Diamond Princess outbreak alone has had a global impact. At least 18 Americans and seven Australians have tested positive for the virus after returning to their home countries, and medical authorities in both countries say they expect to find more cases as more tests are carried out.

    Twelve Indian crew members have so far been confirmed as cases aboard the ship, India’s NDTV reported on Sunday.

    With some new indications that the coronavirus may have a longer incubation period than 14 days and a variety of cases with no clear link to Hubei, as well as lingering worries about China’s counting methods, health officials remain concerned about the risk of a global pandemic.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  11. #56

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    WaPo Updates P2

    In China, Hubei remains center of most cases

    The large number of new cases confirmed in Hubei continue to present challenges for the province, which has now been on lockdown for almost a month.

    On Sunday, Wuhan’s Union Jiangbei Hospital announced that a 29-year-old Xia Sisi, a front line doctor from the department of gastroenterology had died of coronavirus early on Sunday morning. Xia had been hospitalized on Jan. 19, the hospital said.

    The toll on health workers in Hubei has been heavy. China Daily reports that another 29-year-old doctor in Wuhan, Peng Yinhua, died on Thursday after postponing his own wedding to help treat the outbreak.

    China is bringing in seven cruise ships to help house medical workers for the coronavirus response, with the first, named Blue Whale, arriving on Friday evening followed by Changjiang Fu Tai and Changjiang Fu Tai No. 2 on Saturday.

    In total, the ships will provide 1,267 beds for health workers, according to local media reports, and China has taken extensive efforts to provide a safe environment, including having a dedicated ship to dispose of waste. But on Chinese social media, opinions were split about the idea, with some comparing it to the situation aboard the Diamond Princess.

    On Weibo, some users suggested that air-conditioning in the ships would need to be sealed and the plumbing inspected. “If I were a doctor, I would set up a tent by myself,” one user wrote.

    The spread of the outbreak in confined spaces continued to be a worry. The local government announced that there had been 32 new confirmed cases in Hubei’s prison system as of Saturday, bringing the total to 304.

    On Saturday, the provinces of Sichuan and Heilongjiang announced that they would move toward a “wartime” management system in prisons and drug treatment centers to try to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    Worries about a longer incubation period have also arisen in Hubei after a 70-year-old man infected with coronavirus did not show symptoms until 27 days later, the local government reported on Saturday.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  12. #57

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    WaPo Updates P3

    Alarm rises in Italy

    Just days ago, Italy had only three cases, including two Chinese tourists. But its experience shows the difficulty that countries might face in containing the virus, which can be carried by people who don’t immediately show symptoms.

    “What is worrying about the Italian situation is that not all recorded cases seem to have a clear epidemiological history — that is, a connection with travels to China or contacts with already confirmed cases,” Hans Kluge, the Europe director of the World Health Organization, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

    At the beginning of the weekend, Italy had cases in two of its largest northern provinces, Lombardy and Veneto, mostly spread around smaller towns. But authorities said Sunday that there were also cases in Piemonte and Emilia-Romagna, also in the north.

    The president of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, said schools would be shut down until March.

    “The moment isn’t easy, but based on today’s figures, we can still hope we can actually circumscribe the contagion,” Zaia said.

    The governor of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, said it was not yet time for drastic measures in the country’s economic hub, the city of Milan. “But if the situation worsens,” he said, according to the Italian media, “we will take measures like in Wuhan.”
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  13. #58

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    WaPo Updates P4

    South Korea raises national alert level to highest possible

    South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 169 additional cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, raising the national tally of the virus to 602.

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in told an emergency meeting that the country was now at a “crucial moment” that called for all out efforts from the government and public alike in face of the virus.

    Moon raised the national alert level to the highest of “red,” a first for South Korea since the 2009 epidemic of H1N1 swine flu.

    The South Korean leader said the government is confident it can tackle the transmissions as most of the new cases are traced to existing clusters. The majority of South Korea’s coronavirus cases have been linked to two clusters at a church in the southern city of Daegu and a nearby hospital in Cheongdo County in North Gyeongsang province.

    Moon said emergency support was being mobilized for Daegu as it was “nearing its capacity.”

    “Please avoid excessive anxiety and trust the government’s actions,” Moon said in a message to the public. “If all the people join with confidence, we can win. Trust and cooperation is the way to win this battle against the virus.”

    Over half of South Korea’s 556 cases are traced to the Daegu church, which is a branch of Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. Shincheonji, a fringe religious sect, is often described as “cult” by critics.

    The South Korean government temporarily shut down Shincheonji’s 1,100 churches and annex buildings nationwide in an attempt to control the spread of the virus among members and their surrounding communities. President Moon Jae-in called the shutdown “a fair and inevitable step” to ensure community-wide safety and said there was “no intention to limit religious freedom.”

    South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday that a 56-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with the virus died at a university hospital in Daegu.

    The KCDC has confirmed the fifth coronavirus death in South Korea. The woman in her 50s had been suffering from chronic kidney disease before getting diagnosed with the virus on Tuesday. The KCDC said it is investigating the exact cause of her death.

    A different church in the southern city of Busan also reported three cases of the virus, one of whom is the son of a South Korean man who had been in Wuhan. The father himself, however, had tested negative for the virus after returning from Wuhan, according to the KCDC.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  14. #59

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    WaPo Updates P5

    Growing fears in the Middle East as death toll in Iran rises

    State officials in Afghanistan and Armenia have closed their borders to neighboring Iran as a preventive measure after Iran’s Health Ministry confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths in the country on state television Sunday.

    Afghanistan reported its first suspected cases of the coronavirus in the western city of Herat on Sunday, according to the health chief of the province, also called Herat. Three people, all elderly men, had recently returned to the city from Iran, Abdul Hakim Tamana told The Washington Post by phone.

    He said that the men have been hospitalized and that blood samples have been taken.

    “We do not know at this stage whether they are suffering from cold, pneumonia or possibly coronavirus,” Tamana said.

    An Afghan National Security Council statement said the nation had “halted all types of travels to and from Iran.”

    Thousands of people travel back and forth every day between Afghanistan and Iran because of trade, employment and family ties. Afghan officials were testing all people crossing the border for coronavirus symptoms. But many who travel between the two countries also use informal routes, where screening doesn’t take place.

    Also Sunday, the Armenian government announced that it would close its border with Iran and suspend air travel to and from the country for two weeks.

    The outbreak has increased tension between Iran, already isolated by sanctions, and its neighbors. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that the threat of coronavirus had been exaggerated by the country’s enemies who hoped to cast doubt upon Friday’s parliamentary election.

    On Saturday, however, Iran itself ordered the closure of schools and universities in a bid to prevent the outbreak from spreading further.

    In Israel, reports that a group of South Koreans who tested positive for the infection had visited some of the country’s most popular religious and tourist spots prompted concern across the country.

    Dozens of students who may have been in proximity to the South Korean tourists were directed to stay in home-based quarantine for two weeks, as were hotel housekeepers and employees of Masada, Tel Ber Sheeva and other national parks.

    Non-Israeli travelers from South Korea and Japan have been barred from entering the country, according to local media reports, and Israelis arriving from multiple Asian countries face two weeks of mandatory quarantine.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  15. #60

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    WaPo P6

    Japanese emperor voices fears about Olympics

    More than 800 people in Japan have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, though the bulk of those cases come from the passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship — which has reported an additional 57 cases, bringing the total up to 691.

    An additional 147 cases that are not tied to the ship also have been reported, the Japanese Health Ministry said.

    Most of the new Diamond Princess cases were among crew members still aboard the ship, officials said.

    One Japanese woman who had been released from the ship last week developed a fever and tested positive for the virus on Saturday, the Health Ministry said. The woman had tested negative on Feb. 14 and had been allowed to return to her home in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo.

    The latest case had reinforced concerns about Japan’s decision to allow passengers from the Diamond Princess to return to their homes if they tested negative for the virus after an initial 14-day quarantine period.

    The Health Ministry said Sunday that a third passenger had died after leaving the ship. The cause of death was pneumonia, Japan’s health minister said, but the ministry did not disclose whether the man, who was in his 80s, had been infected with coronavirus.

    In the light of the death, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said officials will closely monitor the health of passengers who disembarked from the ship after the quarantine ended, including through daily phone calls. The situation elsewhere in Japan is about to hit “an acceleration phase,” he said.

    The United States and other countries have imposed an additional 14-day quarantine on passengers returning from the ship, out of concern the virus was still spreading around the vessel during the initial period, but Japan has insisted its arrangements to isolate passengers and prevent the virus spreading were sound.

    Japan’s health ministry says it set the conditions for leaving the ship after hearing experts’ views. But it says it takes the latest development seriously, NHK reported.

    Japanese Emperor Naruhito, in his first news conference since ascending the throne, said on Sunday that he was looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics in the summer but that he was concerned about the spread of the new coronavirus, Reuters reported.

    “This new coronavirus is a concern. I would like to send my sympathies to those who are infected and their families,” he said, speaking on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered a government task force to prepare for a potential surge in the number of people infected with the new coronavirus, NHK reported.

    Abe said the outbreak has entered a “crucial phase” with cases emerging around the country where the infection route or a link to China could not be traced. He said authorities need to prepare for a possible jump in patient numbers, by focusing efforts on preventing infected people from becoming seriously ill.

    The State Department on Friday raised its travel advisory for Japan and South Korea to Level 2 on its four-level scale, urging older travelers and people with chronic medical conditions to consider delaying unnecessary travel.

    Min Joo Kim reported from Seoul. Stefano Pitrelli in Rome, Simon Denyer in Tokyo, Steve Hendrix in Jerusalem and Liu Yang in Beijing contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

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