Deaths from China’s coronavirus outbreak surpass deaths from SARS

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Filipinos evacuated due to the coronavirus outbreak board a chartered plane from Wuhan to the Philippines on Sunday, February 9, 2020. (Department of Foreign Affairs via Reuters)
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In this Feb. 5, 2020, file photo, a couple wearing face masks walk along a pedestrian shopping street during a snowfall in Beijing. (AP)
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Updated 10 February 2020

Deaths from China’s coronavirus outbreak surpass deaths from SARS

  • Confirmed coronavirus cases in China stood at 37,198 cases
  • Thirty Filipinos returned to the Philippines on Sunday from Wuhan City

BEIJING: Mainland China’s death toll from the new virus outbreak has risen to 811, surpassing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic, as authorities enforce ever-stricter measures to curb the further spread.
In a possibly hopeful sign, however, the number of new cases reported over the last 24 hours on Sunday fell significantly from the previous period. Another 89 deaths were reported, while 2,656 new cases were added for a total of 37,198.. On Saturday, 3,399 cases were counted for the previous 24 hours.
More than 300 cases in some two dozen countries and two fatalities have been confirmed outside the mainland.


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SARS had killed 774 people and sickened 8,098, mainly in mainland China and Hong Kong. The response this time has been much quicker and countries around the world are enforcing tougher measures to contain the disease. China has placed around 50 million people under quarantine, mainly in and around Wuhan, the hardest-hit central Chinese city where the virus was first detected in December among people who had visited a food market where live wild animals were sold.
Thus far, the new virus that is of the same family of coronavirus as SARS, has proven far less deadly, killing around 2-3 percent of those infected, Chinese authorities say. SARS killed 9.6 percent of those who caught it, according to the World Health Organization.
A 60-year-old US citizen was among the new fatalities in Wuhan, apparently the first American death in the outbreak. A Japanese citizen being treated in Wuhan who was a suspected case also died.

Thirty Filipinos returned to the Philippines on Sunday from Wuhan City, foreign affairs officials said.

Twenty-nine adults and an infant flew on a chartered flight arranged by the foreign affairs and health departments which landed in Clark Air Base, located about 40 miles northwest of the capital, Manila.

The returning passengers and a 10-member government team were transferred from the plane into buses that brought them to the nearby Athlete’s Village in New Clark City in Tarlac province for a 14-day quarantine, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

On Saturday, Japan reported three more cases aboard a quarantined cruise ship for a total of 64. There are 3,700 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess who must remain on board for 14 days.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said foreign passengers on another ship, Holland America’s Westerdam, won’t be allowed into Japan because of suspected virus patients on board. The ship, with more than 2,000 people, was near Okinawa and was seeking another port.
Hong Kong began enforcing a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from mainland China on Saturday. The territory has refused to completely seal its border but hopes the quarantine will dissuade travelers from the mainland.
China’s leaders are trying to keep food flowing to crowded cities despite anti-disease controls and to quell fears of possible shortages and price spikes following panic buying after most access to Wuhan and nearby cities was cut off. Cities across the country have enforced travel bans and Beijing supermarkets have begun requiring customers register their personal information and have their temperatures taken before being allowed to enter.
Authorities have expressed their regrets over the death of 34-year-old Dr. Li Wenliang, who was threatened by police after trying to sound the alarm about the disease over a month ago and became infected himself. A team from Beijing is reportedly being sent to Wuhan to investigate “issues reported by the masses” related to the case.
That was an apparent attempt to stem public outrage after Li’s death crystallized doubts about the ruling Communist Party’s controls over information and complaints that officials lie about or hide disease outbreaks, chemical spills, dangerous consumer products or financial frauds, while intimidating and detaining whistleblowers.
The ophthalmologist died last week at Wuhan Central Hospital, where he worked and likely contracted the virus while treating patients in the early days of the outbreak.
Police in December had reprimanded eight doctors including Li for warning friends on social media about the emerging threat. China’s supreme court later criticized the police, but the ruling Communist Party has tightened its grip on information about the outbreak.
Users of China’s Weibo microblogging service have left hundreds of thousands of messages mourning Li’s death and criticizing how he and the other seven were dealt with. Civil rights lawyers, environmental activists, advocates for ethnic and sexual minorities and political dissidents routinely receive similar treatment.

Meanwhile, a fourth case of the new coronavirus has been diagnosed in Britain after a patient contracted the illness from a previously confirmed British case while in France, health officials said on Sunday.

Paris bans daytime jogging as virus deaths hit new high

Updated 4 min 15 sec ago

Paris bans daytime jogging as virus deaths hit new high

  • Starting Wednesday, Paris will enforce a ban on individual outdoor sports between the hours of 10:00 am and 07:00 pm
  • Officials worry that confinement violations could further burden hospitals already overflowing with COVID-19 patients

PARIS:  Paris officials announced Tuesday that they would ban daytime jogging to keep people from bending anti-coronavirus lockdown rules, after France recorded its biggest daily jump in the death toll from the outbreak.
Under nationwide stay-at-home orders that came into force on March 17, people can leave their homes only for essential purposes, which until now included a solo walk or run within a one-kilometer (0.6-mile) radius of home.
But amid a spell of sunny spring weather, large groups of Parisians were seen running, walking and congregating over the weekend, even as police stepped up patrols and issued fines for lockdown violations.
Starting Wednesday, Paris will enforce a ban on individual outdoor sports between the hours of 10:00 am and 07:00 pm.
Officials worry that confinement violations could further burden hospitals already overflowing with COVID-19 patients, and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday urged municipal officials to toughen restrictions if necessary.
“Every excursion avoided aids the fight against the epidemic,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and police chief Didier Lallement said in a statement.
Also Tuesday, the Atlantic coastal resort city of Biarritz limited the period people can sit on benches or in other public areas to two minutes maximum, saying confinement meant that “dawdling is prohibited.”
Paris, Biarritz and other cities have already closed public parks and gardens as part of the nationwide lockdown that requires people to carry a document justifying any excursion from the home.
Those caught without the document risk a fine starting at €135 ($147).
In the north of France, the mayor of Marcq-en-Baroeul has made spitting in public, coughing or sneezing without covering one’s face, and throwing used masks and gloves in the street punishable by a fine of 68 euros.
The tougher rules came after Health Minister Olivier Veran announced Monday a record daily coronavirus death toll of 833 people in 24 hours.
“It is not over,” the minister said, urging people to “stay at home and continue this confinement effort.”
Like many other nations, France debated Tuesday the merits of encouraging, or compelling, people to wear face masks to prevent asymptomatic virus-carriers from passing it on to others.
Veran said Tuesday that it remained an “open question” that required further scientific investigation.
France’s Academy of Medicine, which advises the government on epidemics, has advocated mask-wearing as an aid in curbing the outbreak, but international bodies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) disagree.
But Hidalgo said in a radio interview Tuesday that she would not oblige face mask use for now, though she did encourage people to cover their faces in public.
France’s finance ministry, meanwhile, said dozens of companies have produced 3.9 million fabric masks for non-medical professional use in the past week, and will produce 6.6 million more in the days to come.
The country’s Order of Pharmacists and two labor unions urged the government, meanwhile, to allow pharmacies to sell “alternative” non-medical grade masks to members of the public as an added protection.
The WHO said Monday that asking the general public to wear face masks could be justified in areas where hand-washing and physical distancing were difficult, but warned that masks alone could not stop the pandemic.