TOP WHO experts, including from the US, have joined the fight against the novel coronavirus in China that has claimed 1,770 lives, as Beijing stepped up its efforts by deploying 30,000 more medical staff in the worst-affected Wuhan city to contain the spread of the epidemic.
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Monday that 105 people died of the virus on Sunday while 2,048 new cases of infection have been confirmed, taking the total number of COVID-19 infected cases to 70,548, the state run Xinhua news agency reported.
Of the new deaths, 100 were reported from the central Hubei province, three in the central Henan province, and two in the southern Guangdong province. The efforts to combat coronavirus picked up pace with the global experts mobilised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) joining hands with their Chinese counterparts. China has confirmed that the WHO team reportedly comprising 12 members includes experts from the US, which has been a major demand from Washington.
“The foreign experts on board the China-WHO Joint Mission have arrived in Beijing. They have started relevant activities. We have experts from the US in the Mission,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told online media briefing here on Monday.
They will carry out field trips in Beijing, Guangdong and Sichuan, he said. The Hubei province and its provincial capital Wuhan, the epicentres of the virus, however, were a surprise omission from their places of visit. The NHC said a joint expert team consisting of experts from China and the WHO began field inspections on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak on Monday.
The expert team will go to Beijing, Guangdong province and Sichuan province to conduct inspections, Mi Feng, spokesperson for the NHC told the media here. A symposium was held by the NHC on Sunday, which was attended by nearly 80 people, including joint expert team members and representatives from the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism, Mi said.
The attendees talked about Hubei, the virus-hit province, during a teleconference, and discussed the situation of the epidemic, control and prevention measures in communities and rural areas, wildlife management and drug and vaccine development, state run Xinhua reported. The joint expert team acknowledged China’s prevention and control measures, as well as the dedication of Chinese medical workers, Mi said.
China dispatched more than 30,000 medical staff, including elite medical groups, to assist in the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Wuhan, Guo Yanhong, an official with the NHC said.
Trading quarantines, Americans from cruise land in US: One of two charter flights carrying cruise ship passengers from Japan landed at a California air force base early Monday, starting the clock on a quarantine period to ensure passengers don’t have the new virus that’s been spreading in Asia.
Another flight was headed to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Japan’s Defence Minister Taro Kono had tweeted earlier that Japanese troops helped transport 340 US passengers on 14 buses from Yokohama port. About 380 Americans were on the cruise ship.
Two more Indians test +ve for on cruise ship off Japan
TWO more Indians on board a quarantined cruise ship off Japan have been tested positive for the novel coronavirus, taking the number Indian nationals infected with the virus on the vessel to six, according to an official statement on Monday.
The Indian Embassy here said in a statement that 99 new positive cases on-board Diamond Princess have been confirmed on February 17, bringing the total number to 454. “This included 2 Indian crew members who have been transferred to medical facilities for necessary treatment and quarantine. The number of Indian nationals who have tested positive for COVID-19 now stands at six,” it said.
“The four Indian crew members who earlier tested positive continue to receive treatment. Their health conditions are stable and responding well to the treatment,” it added. The embassy said it is coordinating with the Japanese Government and ship management company for health and welfare of all Indian national on board. “The embassy is in constant touch with on board Indian nationals who are successfully braving out the situation and understand public health safety in such situations,” the statement said. A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the ship. The ship was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the COVID-19 on the ship.
The Embassy said it was making efforts for early de-boarding of all the Indians from the ship after the end of the quarantine period and was in discussions with the Japanese Government and the ship management company for the disembarkation modalities and welfare of Indians.
99 more coronavirus cases on Japan cruise ship
AN ADDITIONAL 99 people have tested positive for coronavirus on a cruise ship off the Japan coast, Japanese media said Monday, citing new figures from the Health Ministry. That would take the total number of positive cases on the Diamond Princess to 454. The health ministry declined to confirm the reports immediately.
It was also not clear whether the figures included 14 US citizens who tested positive for the virus but were allowed to board evacuation flights home. The Diamond Princess vessel moored in Yokohama near Tokyo has become the second-largest cluster of coronavirus cases outside the epicentre in China. Passengers have been largely confined to quarters since February 5 with only brief and occasional breaks to take air on deck -- with face masks.
The quarantine period is over on Wednesday but many countries have decided to repatriate their citizens after an alarming climb in cases on board. The US was the first country to evacuate its citizens from the ship but Australia, Canada, Italy and Hong Kong have indicated they will follow suit. On land, cases in Japan have risen to 65, with authorities warning that the outbreak is entering a “new phase” and advising people to avoid large gatherings.