News snippets


Denmark has closed all of its schools and universities after a 10-fold rise in cases since Monday.

All public sector workers with non-critical jobs are also to be sent home starting from Friday, prime minister Mette Frederiksen has announced.

Norway is shutting its borders to the places worst-hit by coronavirus, and it has decided to stop Nato military exercise in its Arctic region.

Sweden, meanwhile. has banned public gatherings of more than 500 people after reporting its first death.

More @ The Independent


The NHS is set to increase number of coronavirus tests it can carry out to 10,000 every day – a significant ramping up of a process seen that has so far seen 25,000 people processed since January as the number of people infected in the UK continues to rise.

However, the NHS has said it will now work with PHE labs to scale up the operation by 500 per cent after the government agency became one of the first in the world to develop a highly sensitive test for verifying the existence of the virus.

More @ The Independent


Coronavirus: 45% of people infected with virus show ‘no or minimal symptoms’, new figures indicate

One in ten people with the illness display no symptoms at all.

The data also reveals that 22 per cent of infections have been detected in people aged between 19 and 50.

Some doctors in Italy have compared the current situation to war-time, as they are forced to decide which patients should use the scarce beds available.

Dr. Massimo Galli, head of infectious disease at Milan’s Sacco hospital, said: “Unfortunately we’re only at the beginning.”

More @ The Independent


Coronavirus: Whole of Italy placed on 'red zone' quarantine and all public events banned

'We have adopted a new decision based on an assumption: that there is no time', PM says

The entire nation of Italy has been placed on lockdown with all public gatherings cancelled and all schools and universities closed until next month, the nation's prime minister has said.

The measures will take effect from Tuesday morning, extending those effected from a population of 16 million in the north of the country, to more than 60 million nation wide.

More @ The Independent


With two Princess ships at the centre of coronavirus scares, the beleaguered cruise line is now paying passengers who continue with their planned voyages.

Princess Cruises says that customers who depart on their booked sailings from 9 March to 31 May will be credited with $100 (£77) in on-board spending money for cruises of up to four days, rising to $200 (£154) for voyages of six days or more.

The incentives are aimed at minimising cancellations. The company said they would “assist guests' decisions regarding their upcoming cruise vacations during the evolving worldwide Covid-19 situation”.

More @ The Independent


In China, a 36-year-old man who had been confirmed to have the virus and was discharged from a hospital in Wuhan on 26 February has died, according to the Chinese publication the Paper, who cited his wife. The man suddenly became ill on 2 March and died after going to the hospital. The cause of death was respiratory failure caused by Covid-19.

China has been noting daily increases in the number of people “cured” or discharged from hospitals after being confirmed to have the virus. But, after several cases of released patients testing positive again, authorities in Hubei ordered that released patients be quarantined for another 14 days.

Beijing Ditan Hospital in Beijing has meanwhile found that a patient who tested positive for Covid-19 has suffered viral encephalitis caused by the virus, adding to evidence the infections can cause damage to patients’ nervous systems.

More @ The Guardian


Coronavirus: UK officials told to create extra mortuary space as government admits outbreak could trigger surge in deaths of vulnerable and elderly

Stark government warning suggests 'widespread exposure in UK may be inevitable' and 'pressures on services and wider society may start to become significant and clearly noticeable'

More @ The Independent


Twitter has told its employees to work from home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In a blog post, the social media giant said it was mandatory for staff in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea to work remotely.

The company also said it was "strongly encouraging" all of its 5,000 employees around the world to not come into work.

It comes a day after the firm banned all non-essential business travel and events for its workers.

More @ BBC


China closes 1st ‘pop-up’ coronavirus hospital, built in 10 days, after last group of recovered patients discharged

Authorities in Wuhan have closed the city’s first makeshift hospital after discharging the last batch of 34 recovered coronavirus patients, as the rate of infection in the city has dropped dramatically.

Wuhan was the site of the original outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, and the city’s response, building a new hospital in less than two weeks to handle Covid-19 patients, was seen as a modern marvel with the total number of hospital beds in the city eventually going from 5,000 to 23,000.

More @ RT


England only has 15 available beds for adults to treat the most severe respiratory failure and will struggle to cope if there are more than 28 patients who need them if the number of coronavirus cases rises, according to the government and NHS documents.

Ministers have revealed in parliamentary answers that there are 15 available beds for adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment at five centres across England. The government said this could be increased in an emergency. There were 30 such beds in total available during the 2018-19 winter flu season.

More @ The Guardian


The Dow Jones Industrial Average continued to plunge on Thursday, down a massive 1,192 points, or 4.42% to 25,762, as fears about the impact of the coronavirus on the economy continued.

This is the Dow’s largest one-day point decline in history, surpassing Monday’s 1,031-point drop.

The S&P 500 fell 4.4% while the Nasdaq dropped 4.6% —also both of their largest one-day point declines.

Attempts by the Trump administration to calm market fears over the spread of the virus within the US were thwarted by headlines including that California is monitoring 8,400 people for potential infection.

More @ The Independent


This week, Beijing authorities announced new rules in a bid to disperse crowds in the city of over twenty million people, including many migrant workers from other regions.

Supermarkets must allow an average of two square metres per customer - a mandate which not only forces shops to track how many patrons enter, but also means shoppers have to wait outside once stores hit maximum capacity.

More @ The Guardian


A patient in California has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus despite no known links to any outbreaks overseas.

The case may be proof that the fatal illness has begun spreading within communities in the US, the CDC warned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the case Wednesday night but did not release any additional details.

More @ The Independent


The city of San Francisco, California has declared a state of emergency over the deadly coronavirus after health officials warned its spread across the United States was inevitable.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the state of emergency in a statement on Tuesday, saying “the global picture” surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus was “changing rapidly” and city officials “need to step-up preparedness.”

“We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day,” she continued, “and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm.”

There have been not yet been any reported cases of coronavirus in San Francisco.

More @ The Independent


Coronavirus fears have forced a UK private school to close after pupils returning from a ski trip in Italy’s Lombardy region experienced flu-like symptoms. Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire, has closed for the week and will undergo a deep clean while pupils and staff have been told to self-isolate.

Staff and pupils at two British schools who had been on a trip to Italy have been sent home "as a precautionary measure". Health officials say they are offering "appropriate support and guidance" to staff and pupils at Brine Leas School and Sandbach High School in Cheshire.

More @ The Independent


Screening for coronavirus will miss more than half of infected travellers, researchers say.

A new study suggests that most cases missed by screening are undetectable because symptoms have not yet developed, and the person is not aware they have been exposed.

Scientists say their findings highlight the importance of measures to limit transmission by travellers who become ill after being missed by a screening programme.

More @ The Independent


Coronavirus: South Korea placed on 'red alert' as fifth person dies

More than 9,000 Shincheonji church members in self-quarantine as president describes coming days as ‘very important moment’

Of the 123 new cases, 75 are related to the Shincheonji church in the country’s fourth-largest city of Daegu and a neighbouring hospital.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has placed more than 9,000 Shincheonji members in self-quarantine and thousands of worshippers have been screened for the virus.

It came as a Japanese government minister apologised after a woman allowed to leave the coronavirus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess on Wednesday tested positive for the infection on Saturday, raising more questions about the country’s management of the outbreak.

More @ The Guardian


South Korea has stepped up measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, as confirmed infections rose sharply for a second day.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun described the development as an "emergency" situation.

The two southern cities of Daegu and Cheongdo have been declared "special care zones".

The country has also locked down its military after several soldiers tested positive.

On Friday, South Korea reported 52 new confirmations after a rise of 53 on Thursday.

More @ BBC


Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree on Tuesday evening prohibiting most categories of Chinese citizens from entering Russia. The new rules are effective from Thursday.

The decision is the strongest measure yet taken to prevent the entry and spread of the new coronavirus in Russia. Previously, Russian Railways suspended all passenger traffic to and from China, and flights have been heavily restricted. In addition, border crossings in the Far East have been closed.

More @ Russia Today


One of Wuhan’s most senior doctors has died after contracting coronavirus, as authorities began a sweeping campaign inside the city to seek out patients infected with the deadly virus.

Confirmation also emerged of the death of Xu Depu, the former director of the Ezhou city Chinese medicine hospital in Hubei province, from the virus on Thursday last week. A nurse at the hospital on Tuesday confirmed his death, as reported in Red Star news, an outlet under state newspaper Chengdu Commercial Daily.

More @ The Guardian


More than 10,000 people in villages near Vietnam’s capital were placed under quarantine Thursday after six cases of the deadly new coronavirus were discovered there, authorities said.

In the first mass quarantine outside of China since the virus emerged there in late December, the Son Loi farming region about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Hanoi will be locked down for 20 days, the health ministry said.

More @ The Guardian


New research based on data gathered from more than 1,000 coronavirus patients in China found that the incubation period for the virus was as long as 24 days rather than the previously believed 14 days, and fewer than half of the patients showed fever symptoms when they first saw doctors.

However, the study found that four out of 62 stool specimens, or 6.5%, tested positive to 2019-nCoV, and four more patients who tested positive in rectal swabs had the 2019-nCoV detected in the gastrointestinal tract, saliva or urine. Therefore, the researchers called for integrating systemic protection measures, taking into account transmission via gastrointestinal secretions.

More @ Caixin


The coronavirus epidemic could spread to about two-thirds of the world’s population if it cannot be controlled, according to Hong Kong’s leading public health epidemiologist.

Prof Gabriel Leung, the chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University, said the overriding question was to figure out the size and shape of the iceberg. Most experts thought that each person infected would go on to transmit the virus to about 2.5 other people. That gave an “attack rate” of 60-80%.

More @ The Guardian


All British nationals have been urged to leave China due to the coronavirus outbreak, as the epidemic claimed more than 420 lives and infected more than 20,000 people globally.

More @ The Independent


Coronavirus: Emirates asks Beijing passengers to check-in eight hours before flight for ‘medical tests’

More @ The Independent


More than 80,000 African students are in China, with 5,000 thought to be in Wuhan

Thousands of African students in Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus epidemic, face dwindling food supplies, limited information and lockdowns restricting them to their campuses or hostels.

More @ The Guardian


Coronavirus outbreak not yet pandemic - World Health Organization

More @ BBC


In Germany, eight people have tested positive for the virus so far. Seven of them, five Germans and two Chinese nationals, are employees of the car parts supplier Webasto, headquartered in Stockdorf, Bavaria. The eighth is the child of one of the employees.

All eight patients were in a “stable clinical condition” and had only shown “flu-like symptoms”, said a spokesperson for the Bavarian health ministry.

More @ The Guardian


A report on the early stages of the outbreak by the Lancet medical journal said most patients who died from the virus had pre-existing conditions.

The report found that, of the first 99 patients treated at the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, 40 had a weak heart or damaged blood vessels. A further 12 had diabetes.

The virus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

But most people infected are likely to fully recover - just as they would from a normal flu.

An expert at China's National Health Commission (NHC) said that one week was sufficient for a recovery from mild coronavirus symptoms.

More @ BBC


Zhang Zhoubin, deputy head of a disease prevention center in the southeastern city of Guangzhou, said coronavirus was "found" on the door handle at a patient's home. "This reminds me that we have to do well in keeping hygiene at home, and it is important to frequently wash our hands," he said. Zhang warned that other areas prone to contamination include mobile phones, keyboards, and faucet handles.

More @ RT


“171 cases of new pneumonia were cured and 15,238 suspected cases were found,” another post read. “The healers are all treated through traditional Chinese medicine and other symptomatic treatment. We will try our best to do a good job in prevention and treatment.”

More @ RT

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