China intensifies efforts to fight the coronavirus as the death toll rises to 305
BEIJING/WUHAN: China on Sunday resorted to more drastic measures such as isolating patients to designated areas and restricting the movement of residents in regions affected by the rapidly spreading virus that has killed 305 people and infected more than 14,000.
The Philippines reported on Sunday the first death outside of China because of the deadly virus that has spread to 25 countries, including India, with a total of 305.
The victim, a 44-year-old Chinese man, was the companion of a 38-year-old Chinese woman who arrived in the Philippines on January 21 from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
So far, more than 140 cases of coronavirus have been reported from abroad, including India, where a second case of Kerala virus was reported on Sunday.
India transported 647 Indians and seven Maldives by plane on Saturday and Sunday from Wuhan. Evacuated Indians would be monitored for any signs of infection for two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.
India also temporarily suspended the electronic visa service for Chinese travelers and foreigners residing in China in view of the rapid spread of the virus.
Two Indians who were not allowed to board the special flight in Wuhan on Friday after they reported a high fever told PTI that their temperatures had now dropped to a normal level and they wanted to travel back home.
A total of 10 Indians were unable to board the AI flight by Chinese immigration officials after it was discovered that they had a high fever.
The Indian ambassador to China, Vikram Misri, told PTI that some 100 Indians are still believed to reside in Hubei province.
At the end of Saturday, a total of 304 people had died of the disease in the country, said the National Health Commission of China.
The state CGTN reported that there were 14,411 confirmed cases of the virus. However, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said the virus has infected 14,562 people.
The commission said it was suspected that 19,544 people were infected with the virus, whose condition of 2,110 patients remained serious.
Chinese health experts have been saying the casualties will increase considerably over the next two weeks before they begin to decrease.
This is because millions of travelers, especially those from Wuhan and Hubei Province who traveled to China and abroad during the New Year holidays are returning to their homes.
A senior Chinese official said about five million Wuhan residents have traveled outside the city affected by the virus before it was closed on January 23.
China is bringing hundreds of its citizens who had traveled abroad during the holidays back on charter flights. They are being transferred directly to Wuhan.
The commission also noted that the number of patients affected by the virus is recovering, saying that 328 people have been discharged.
Since the virus is transmitted from person to person, more than 1.63 lakh of close contacts have been tracked, of which 1.37 lakh are still under medical observation, state news agency Xinhua reported.
China has stepped up measures to contain the virus by isolating patients. Wuhan health authorities announced that people suspected of infection will be isolated in designated areas with immediate effect.
Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province, ruled that only one family member can leave the house every two days to buy groceries from Saturday to February 8, amid efforts to contain the epidemic, Global Times reported. , administered by the state.
The National Health Commission also ordered that the bodies of coronavirus victims should be cremated nearby and immediately. Burials or transfer of bodies are not allowed, the Commission said.
China also reported an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in Hunan province, which is located on the southern border of Hubei province.
The outbreak occurred on a farm in the Shuangqing District of Shaoyang City. The farm has 7,850 chickens, and 4,500 of the chickens have died from contagion. Local authorities have slaughtered 17,828 poultry after the outbreak, a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Saturday.
No human cases of the Hunan H5N1 virus have been reported, the Post reported.
Avian influenza is very deadly for humans who get it, with a mortality rate of more than 50 percent in the last 15 years.
China also prepared to open the makeshift 1,000-bed hospital built in Wuhan in nine record days. Another 2,300-bed hospital is being prepared in a few days.
President Xi Jinping ordered 1,400 members of the armed forces medical staff to treat patients at the newly built Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan starting Monday.
Huoshenshan Hospital, with a capacity of 1,000 beds, is an impromptu hospital dedicated to the treatment of patients infected with the coronavirus, Xinhua reported.
Doctors include 950 people from hospitals affiliated with the Joint Logistic Support Force of the People's Liberation Army and 450 from medical universities of the army, navy and the EPL air force.
Meanwhile, a joint group of experts of 15 people has also been established to guide the prevention and control of epidemics at the site.
While India, the United States, Sri Lanka and many countries evacuated their citizens from Wuhan, Pakistan has rejected the pleas of its citizens stranded in Wuhan to transport them by plane.
Pakistan's ambassador to China, Naghmana Hashmi, said Sunday that Pakistani students should not be evacuated from Wuhan, since medical facilities in his country do not meet the standards required to treat a patient diagnosed with coronavirus.