Drop in new China virus cases as toll reaches 2,345

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This photo taken on February 20, 2020 shows two staff members crossing an empty road as they deliver vegetables to a hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (AFP)
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This photo taken on February 18, 2020 shows a doctor (R) who has recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus infection donating plasma in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (AFP)
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In this Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, center, visits a medical supply company in Beijing. (AP)
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The body temperature of an Iraqi woman returning from Iran is measured upon her arrival at the Najaf International Airport on February 21, 2020, after Iran announced cases of coronavirus infections in the Islamic republic. (AFP)
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This Feb. 18, 2020, photo, shows an overview of the temporary hospital converted from an exhibition center in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. (AP)
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Updated 23 February 2020

Drop in new China virus cases as toll reaches 2,345

BEIJING: The death toll in China from the new coronavirus outbreak rose by 109, the National Health Commission said Saturday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,345.
Another 397 new cases were reported nationwide, down from nearly 900 officially reported Friday, bringing the total number of cases to over 76,000.
The drop in new cases of the novel coronavirus came as officials in Hubei province — whose capital city Wuhan is the epicenter the outbreak — were ordered to revise figures to clear “doubt” around the data.
The number of new cases nationwide for February 19 was revised up to 820 up from 394 previously reported, the National Health Commission said Saturday.
It also adjusted upwards the total confirmed cases for February 20 by over 400 cases to 75,891.
The decision to amend Hubei’s past data, which was announced on Friday by local authorities, is the latest in a string of changes made to Hubei’s counting method — further complicating efforts to track the spread of the illness.
Last week, Chinese health officials added patients from Hubei who had been diagnosed via clinical methods including lung imaging on top of those confirmed by lab tests.
But on Thursday, Hubei officials backtracked the decision and deducted 279 cases — which they were ordered to re-add to the count on Friday.
 


Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

Updated 12 July 2020

Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

  • Exercise being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory

HONG KONG: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.
The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.
Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.
Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.
To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.
On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.