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Friday, Oct 30, 2020

Coronavirus: China cases fall below 100 as world total climbs over 100,000

Coronavirus: China cases fall below 100 as world total climbs over 100,000

The number of new infections on the mainland was just 99 on Saturday, with all but one of the cases outside Hubei province imported from overseas. World Health Organisation warns against assuming the virus will subside like flu in warmer weather

The new coronavirus has now infected more than 100,000 people around the world, but in mainland China the number of new cases fell on Saturday to just 99 – the first time since January 18 that fewer than 100 cases were recorded.

China’s National Health Commission said 74 of the new infections were reported in Hubei’s provincial capital Wuhan, with the remainder occurring in other provinces. This is the second day there were no further cases elsewhere in Hubei province where the outbreak began.

Of the 25 cases outside Wuhan, all but one of them had been imported from overseas, the commission said, bringing to 60 the number of imported cases. It was also the first time since January 26 that more than 20 new infections were reported outside Hubei province.

There were 28 new deaths – all in Hubei, with 21 in Wuhan – bringing the total number of fatalities on the mainland to 3,070, as of Friday. There have now been 80,651 infections in mainland China.


Don’t count on summer: WHO

Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies programme, called for caution against the assumption, which has been proposed by some scientists, that Covid-19 – the disease caused by the new coronavirus – would subside in the summer like a seasonal flu.

“We have to assume the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread,” Ryan said in Geneva. “It’s a false hope to say, yes, that it will disappear like the flu.” He added that, while it would be a godsend, “we can’t make that assumption. And there is no evidence”.


Philippines to declare national emergency

President Rodrigo Duterte planned to declare a nationwide public health emergency after confirmation of the country’s first community transmission of the disease, a presidential aide said on Saturday.

The Philippines identified its first case of local transmission on Friday, after a 62-year-old man with no travel history tested positive for the disease.


Migrant workers return

A senior Chinese health official said migrant workers were not required by national rules to have a swab test for the virus and obtain a health certificate to return to work.

Yang Wenzhuang, head of population and family affairs at the National Health Commission, said clarified the position after authorities in Sichuan province, in China’s southwest, asked its residents to apply for such certificates in case they had to travel to another city or prefecture to work.

Cai Tuan, from the Ministry of Transport, said authorities throughout the country were organising buses for people returning to work elsewhere, adding that passengers would not be able to disembark before reaching their destination.

Cai said the ministry expected the transport programme for migrant workers would be completed by early April.


California hotspot

California is emerging as a hotspot within the US, where 19 out of 50 states reporting cases, as of Friday afternoon, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

New cases emerged across California on Friday, with 45 people now infected with Covid-19. Several of those cases are linked to the Grand Princess cruise ship, which docked in San Francisco on February 21.

Twenty-one people, including 19 crew members, now on board the ship on another cruise have tested positive.

Vice-President Mike Pence, who is leading the US coronavirus task force, said the federal government was working with California to move the ship to a non-commercial port over the weekend, after it was denied entry to San Francisco Bay.

In Washington state – which has the highest number of cases, including the first infection in the US – the University of Washington has cancelled all in-person classes and exams for the remainder of the winter term across its three campuses. The university has tentative plans to reopen on March 30, “pending public health guidance”.


South Korea cases rise to 7,041

South Korea reported a further 274 cases on Saturday, taking its national tally to 7,041, the Korea Centres for Disease and Control and Prevention said.


Hubei imposes more stringent measures in prisons

A total of 1,795 people in Wuhan’s prisons and other confinement facilities had been infected with Covid-19 as of Thursday, with an additional 164 suspected cases of the disease, according to Changanjian, an official media outlet of the party’s political and legal affairs commission.

Infections in some mainland jails have escalated since February 23 when there were 323 Wuhan inmates diagnosed with the virus, including 297 from Wuhan Women’s Prison.

Control measures have been strengthened in the city’s prisons, detention centres, juvenile correctional facilities, elderly care centres, welfare centres and mental asylums, a week after Wuhan’s top prison officials were sacked, following the case of an infected inmate who was released and then travelled from the locked-down city to Beijing.

Chen Yixin, a central level Communist Party official parachuted in from Beijing to oversee the containment effort in Hubei, said more stringent measures should be adopted in these “special venues” including body temperature checks and a 14-day quarantine for inmates before they are released.

Control measures have been strengthened in the city’s prisons, detention centres, juvenile correctional facilities, elderly care centres, welfare centres and mental asylums, a week after Wuhan’s top prison officials were sacked, following the case of an infected inmate who was released and then travelled from the locked-down city to Beijing.

Chen Yixin, a central level Communist Party official parachuted in from Beijing to oversee the containment effort in Hubei, said more stringent measures should be adopted in these “special venues” including body temperature checks and a 14-day quarantine for inmates before they are released.

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