Does this really sound “contained”?
Update 6 (1530ET): Hong Kong has reportedly confirmed a second case of coronavirus.
More details to come…
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Update 5 (1500ET): After praising all of China’s efforts to contain the outbreak, the WHO Director General announced that the emergency committee would delay its decision on whether to declare the coronavirus a major health emergency of international concern because the committee wants “more information.”
It’s unclear exactly what they’re hoping to learn between today and tomorrow, but with the pace at which the virus is spreading, it’s possible that nearly 1,000 cases will have been identified by then.
Only five other outbreaks have warranted this designation from the WHO.
Fortunately, we should know more tomorrow.
As of 3 pm ET, their press conference was still ongoing, and any interested readers can watch below:
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Update 4 (1350ET): Almost exactly an hour after we tweeted a flight tracking map showing dozens of departures from Wuhan’s International Airport…
….Chinese authorities have reportedly suspended all outbound air and train travel from the city, expanding on their edict that nobody leave, and nobody enter, the city in central China, which has a population of 11 million people, making it larger than New York City.
No flights have taken off from that airport for the last 40 minutes
Screenings for the virus have been expanding to airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and elsewhere. Russia has tightened its border for Chinese travelers, and other countries have also stepped up screening efforts.
As the outbreak worsens, the people of Wuhan are feeling increasingly isolated as the number of cases surpasses 550, and the number of deaths has nearly doubled.
Communist Party leaders, via their allies in the press, touted the transit shutdown as unprecedented, something that wasn’t done even during the 2003 SARS outbreak.
But as Beijing once again tries to convince the world that it has the situation under control, one reporter has offered some food for thought:
They might as well change Wuhan’s name to Raccoon City.
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Update 3 (1230ET): As Beijing scrambles to contain the coronavirus as the number of cases discovered in China and around the world soars, Japan Times reports that government officials have cancelled some Olympic qualifying events in China.
Women’s soccer qualifiers for this summer’s Tokyo Games will be moved from Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak, to another location within China, per the Asian Football Confederation said Wednesday.
Wuhan was supposed to host China, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia for the Group B qualifiers between Feb. 3 and Feb. 9. Instead, the games will be held on the same dates in the city of Nanjing.
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Update 2 (1030amET): Just as we suspected, Chinese authorities have revised the death toll for the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak to 17 on Wednesday, meaning that in under 24 hours, the death toll has practically doubled.
Meanwhile, Russia media reports claim that a passenger from Shanghai has been hospitalized, a sign that the virus may now have spread to Russia.
PASSENGER FROM SHANGHAI HOSPITALIZED IN ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
NOVEL CRONAVIRUS DEATHS RISE TO 17 IN HUBEI PROVINCE:CHINA NEWS
US stocks are rebounding from yesterday’s virus-driven dip as authorities around the world, including President Trump, insist that the outbreak is under control.
But does this really sound “contained”?
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Update (1000amET): So much for being ‘contained’.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – better known as AMLO – said Wednesday morning that two cases of coronavirus are suspected in Mexico, and that health officials are scrambling to confirm. He added that one of the patients is under observation in Tamaulipas.
AMLO assured the public that the Mexican government is closely monitoring the situation.
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China’s National Health Commission has revised the total of coronavirus cases higher for at least the second time on Wednesday: there are now 473 confirmed patients infected in China alone, though the death toll remained at 9, Reuters reports.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.