Philip­pines re­ports first death out­side China

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FRONT PAGE -

BEI­JING: The first death out­side China from the new coro­n­avirus was recorded Sun­day in the Philip­pines, as coun­tries around the world evac­u­ated hun­dreds of their cit­i­zens from the in­fec­tion zone and Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties com­pleted a new, rapidly con­structed 1,000-bed hospi­tal for vic­tims of the out­break.

Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties also de­layed the re­open­ing of schools in the hard­est-hit prov­ince and tight­ened the quar­an­tine in one city by al­low­ing only one fam­ily mem­ber to ven­ture out to buy sup­plies.

The Philip­pine Health De­part­ment said a 44-year-old Chi­nese man from Wuhan, the city at the cen­ter of the cri­sis, was hos­pi­tal­ized Jan. 25 with a fever, cough and sore throat and died af­ter de­vel­op­ing se­vere pneu­mo­nia. The man’s 38year-old fe­male com­pan­ion, also from Wuhan, tested pos­i­tive for the virus as well and re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized in iso­la­tion in Manila.

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte ap­proved a ban on the en­try of all nonci­t­i­zens from China. The U.S., Ja­pan, Sin­ga­pore and Aus­tralia have im­posed sim­i­lar re­stric­tions de­spite crit­i­cism from China and an as­sess­ment from the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion that such mea­sures were un­nec­es­sar­ily hurt­ing trade and travel.

The death toll in China climbed by 45 to 304, and the num­ber of cases world­wide surged past 14,550, ac­cord­ing to China’s Na­tional Health Com­mis­sion and other na­tions. The vast ma­jor­ity of those in­fected are in China; about 150 cases have been re­ported in two dozen other coun­tries. The U.S. has recorded eight cases.

A hospi­tal spe­cially built to han­dle coro­n­avirus pa­tients in Wuhan is ex­pected to open Mon­day, just 10 days af­ter con­struc­tion be­gan. A sec­ond hospi­tal is set to open soon af­ter.

Also, six of­fi­cials in the city of Huang­gang, next to Wuhan in Hubei prov­ince, were fired over “poor per­for­mance” in han­dling the out­break, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency re­ported. It cited the mayor as say­ing the city’s “ca­pa­bil­i­ties to treat the pa­tients re­mained in­ad­e­quate and there is a se­vere short­age in med­i­cal sup­plies such as pro­tec­tive suits and med­i­cal masks.”

The trad­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­ter of Wen­zhou, with 10 mil­lion peo­ple in coastal Zhe­jiang prov­ince, con­fined peo­ple to their homes, al­low­ing only one fam­ily mem­ber to ven­ture out ev­ery other day to buy nec­es­sary sup­plies. Huang­gang, home to 7 mil­lion peo­ple, im­posed sim­i­lar mea­sures Satur­day.

With no end in sight to the out­break, au­thor­i­ties in Hubei and else­where have ex­tended the Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day break, due to end this week, well into Fe­bru­ary to try to keep peo­ple at home and re­duce the spread of the virus. All Hubei schools are post­pon­ing the start of the new se­mes­ter un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Wen­zhou, sit­u­ated about 500 miles from Wuhan, put off the re­open­ing of gov­ern­ment of­fices

un­til Feb. 9, busi­nesses un­til Feb. 17 and schools un­til March 1. The city has re­ported 241 con­firmed cases of the virus, one of the high­est lev­els out­side Hubei.

De­spite its own dras­tic travel re­stric­tions, China has chafed at those im­posed by for­eign gov­ern­ments, crit­i­ciz­ing Washington’s or­der bar­ring en­try to most nonci­t­i­zens who vis­ited China in the past two weeks. Apart from dam­ag­ing China’s in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion, such steps could worsen a do­mes­tic econ­omy al­ready grow­ing at its low­est rate in decades.

The cri­sis is the lat­est to con­front Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping, who has been be­set by months of anti-gov­ern­ment protests in Hong Kong, the re­elec­tion of Tai­wan’s pro-in­de­pen­dence pres­i­dent and crit­i­cism over hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in the tra­di­tion­ally Mus­lim ter­ri­tory of Xin­jiang.

Qatar Air­ways joined the grow­ing num­ber of air­lines sus­pend­ing flights to main­land China. In­done­sia and Oman also halted flights, as did Saudi Ara­bia’s flag­ship na­tional car­rier, Sau­dia. Saudi Ara­bia’s state-run me­dia re­ported that 10 Saudi stu­dents were evac­u­ated from Wuhan on a spe­cial flight. It said the stu­dents would be screened on ar­rival and quar­an­tined for 14 days.

A French-char­tered plane made its way to­ward France Sun­day with 300 evac­uees from a mul­ti­tude of Euro­pean and African coun­tries. And Morocco flew home 167 of its peo­ple, mostly stu­dents.

In­done­sia flew back 241 cit­i­zens from Wuhan Sun­day and quar­an­tined them on the re­mote Natuna Is­lands for two weeks. Sev­eral hun­dred res­i­dents protested the move.

Europe so far has 25 peo­ple in­fected with the virus. The Ger­man Red Cross re­ported two more cases there Sun­day, both Ger­man cit­i­zens who were air­lifted from Wuhan Satur­day on a mil­i­tary trans­port car­ry­ing 128 peo­ple. Eight ear­lier cases in Ger­many were all linked to an auto parts fac­tory.

France has six cases; Rus­sia, Italy and Bri­tain have two each, and Fin­land, Swe­den and Spain each have one. –

Med­i­cal of­fi­cers spray In­done­sian na­tion­als with an­ti­sep­tic af­ter they ar­rived from Wuhan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lebanon

© PressReader. All rights reserved.