Hong Kong records the first death from a new coronavirus; general toll over 420

By Farah Master and Ryan Woo HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - Hong Kong reported Tuesday of its first death from the newly identified coronavirus, the second death outside of mainland China by an outbreak that killed more than 420 people, spread throughout the world and generated fears for global economic growth. China's currency and stock markets stabilized in choppy trade after anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus on Monday hit the yuan and erased about $ 400 billion in market value from the Shanghai benchmark. More foreigners were evacuated from the central city of Wuhan, locked in China, the epicenter of the outbreak, and thousands of people were stranded on a Japanese cruise ship after a passenger tested positive for the virus. Hong Kong's fatality brought total deaths from the virus to 427, including a man who died in the Philippines last week after visiting Wuhan. Chinese authorities said the number of victims in China increased by a record 64 from the day before to 425, mainly in Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital. New cases were reported in the United States, including a patient in California who was infected by close contact with someone in the same household who had been infected in China. It marked the second instance of spreading the virus from person to person in the United States after another case was reported last week in Illinois. We expect to see more cases of spread from person to person, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. UU. The total number of infections in China increased by 3,235 to 20,438, and there were at least 151 cases in 23 other countries and regions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the influenza-like virus is a global emergency, although experts say that much is still unknown about the pathogen, including its death rate and transmission routes. Such uncertainties are leading some countries to take extreme measures to stop the spread of the virus. Australia sent hundreds of Wuhan evacuees to a remote island in the Indian Ocean, while Japan ordered the quarantine of a cruise ship carrying more than 3,000 people after a Hong Kong man who sailed last month tested positive for coronavirus . MEDICAL WORKERS ON STRIKE In Hong Kong, hospital staff said the 39-year-old male victim had a pre-existing chronic illness and had visited Wuhan in January before getting sick. Hundreds of medical workers in the former British colony conducted a second day of strikes to force the government to completely close the city’s borders with mainland China, one day after combat leader Carrie Lam left the three checkpoints open remaining. The Asian financial center has confirmed 15 cases of coronavirus, but the city's public hospital network is struggling to cope with a flood of patients and measures to contain the epidemic. Hong Kong was severely affected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that emerged from China in 2002 and killed nearly 800 people worldwide. According to WHO figures, SARS killed 299 people in Hong Kong during that outbreak. Chinese data suggests that the new virus, although much more contagious than SARS, is significantly less lethal, although these numbers can evolve rapidly. In Wuhan, authorities began converting a gymnasium, an exhibition center and a cultural complex into makeshift hospitals with more than 3,400 beds for patients suffering from mild cases of infection, said the official Changjiang Daily. The United States said Friday that it will block almost all foreign visitors who have been in China in the last 14 days, joining Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam and others that have imposed similar entry restrictions. A day after accusing Washington of alarmism, Beijing said it would appreciate US help to combat the outbreak. China has noted that the United States has repeatedly expressed its willingness to provide assistance to China and hopes that relevant assistance will be provided soon, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on the ministry's website. The White House said China had accepted its offer to have American experts as part of a WHO mission to study and help fight the virus. With Wuhan and some other cities in a virtual blockade, severely restricted travel and China facing growing international isolation, fears of further economic disruption are growing; OPEC oil cartel sources said producers were considering reducing production by almost a third to keep prices. Airlines around the world have stopped flights to parts of China. A suspension by the United Arab Emirates on Monday will affect the Etihad and Emirates Gulf airlines. Some economists predict that world economic production will be reduced by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points due to the closure of China. For a chart that compares coronavirus outbreaks, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2GK6YVK (Report by Kevin Yao, Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo; Additional report by Yilei Sun, Leng Cheng, Brenda Goh, Winni Zhou in Shanghai, Martin Pollard in Jiujiang, Roxanne Liu, Pei Li, Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu, Min Zhang in Beijing , Clare Jim and Noah Sin in Hong Kong, Mekhla Raina in Bangalore, Maria Kiselyova in Moscow, Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Gayatri Suroyo in Jakarta, Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Byron Kaye in Sydney; Written by Stephen Coates; Edition by Raju Gopalakrishnan) This story has not been edited by The Times of India and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe. (This story has not been edited by timesofindia.com and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe.)