THE VIRUS SHIP

COVID-19 A woman dies in Ja­pan and post-mortem re­veals she had the virus de­spite no travel record to Wuhan in China

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Front Page - Su­tirtho Pa­tra­nobis & Agen­cies let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

Pas­sen­gers seen on Thurs­day on the deck of cruise ship Di­a­mond Princess, which has been quar­an­tined due to coro­n­avirus near Tokyo since February 3. Ja­pan said 44 more people on the ship tested pos­i­tive, tak­ing the to­tal in­fected people on the ship to 218. Of­fi­cials have al­lowed pas­sen­gers older than 80 to get off the ship, which is still car­ry­ing about 3,500 people, af­ter test­ing neg­a­tive.

BEI­JING:China’s Com­mu­nist Party has re­placed the party heads in the coro­n­avirus-stricken prov­ince of Hubei and its cap­i­tal Wuhan, state me­dia said on Thurs­day.

The re­moval of Jiang Chao­liang, the leading Com­mu­nist Party of­fi­cial of Hubei prov­ince, and Ma Guo­qiang, his coun­ter­part in Wuhan, fol­lows the dis­missal of two pro­vin­cial health of­fi­cials on Tues­day, and is part of a wider ef­fort by Bei­jing to re­move bureau­crats it ac­cuses of shirk­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment has set up a spe­cial cab­i­net task force un­der Premier Li Ke­qiang to han­dle the cri­sis, and the new ap­point­ments in Hubei sug­gest se­nior lead­ers are tak­ing greater con­trol.

Shang­hai mayor Ying Yong has been ap­pointed the new sec­re­tary of the Hubei Pro­vin­cial Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, re­plac­ing Jiang, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency said with­out ex­plain­ing why Jiang was re­moved.

Ying worked closely with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping dur­ing the lat­ter’s time as party boss and gover­nor of Zhe­jiang prov­ince, which neigh­bours Shang­hai.

Wuhan party chief Ma has been re­placed by Wang Zhonglin, party boss of Ji­nan, the cap­i­tal city of eastern Shan­dong prov­ince, Xin­hua re­ported separately.

Of­fi­cials in Hubei have been heav­ily crit­i­cised for their han­dling of the epi­demic in a prov­ince of al­most 60 mil­lion people. The out­break be­gan in Wuhan late last year, and has spread through­out China, killing more than 1,000

WOMAN WHO HAD VIRUS DIES IN JA­PAN

Ja­pan re­ported its first death from the novel coro­n­avirus af­ter a woman in her 80s died on Thurs­day, health min­is­ter Kat­sunobu Kato said. The woman was be­ing treated for a sep­a­rate con­di­tion and doc­tors dis­cov­ered post-mortem that she tested pos­i­tive, Kato said. She had no travel record to Wuhan and au­thor­i­ties are look­ing into how she con­tracted the virus, Ky­odo news agency said.

EU MIN­IS­TERS HOLD EMERGENCY TALKS

Euro­pean Union health min­is­ters were hold­ing an emergency meet­ing on Thurs­day on how to pre­vent the COVID-19 virus from fur­ther­spreadin­gacrossEu­rope.

Min­is­ters from the bloc’s 27 mem­ber states gather in Brus­sels amid the out­break. Mike Ryan, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the WHO’s emer­gen­cies pro­gramme, will join the de­bate via video link.

FIC­TIONAL VIRUSES MIR­ROR THE REAL ONE

Twit­ter users are scratch­ing their heads to make sense of a fic­tional co­in­ci­dence bor­der­ing on the bizarre. Amer­i­can nov­el­ist Dean Koontz wrote the thriller The Eyes of the Darkness in 1981 about a virus called ‘Wuhan-400’ de­vel­oped by Chi­nese sci­en­tists at a lab­o­ra­tory in, well, Wuhan.

“The sci­en­tist leading the Wuhan-400 re­search is called Li Chen, who de­fects to the US with in­for­ma­tion about China’s most dan­ger­ous chem­i­cal weapons. Wuhan-400 af­fects people rather than an­i­mals and can­not sur­vive out­side the hu­man body or in en­vi­ron­ments colder than 30 de­grees Cel­sius,” Tai­wan News said in a report on Thurs­day.

“Wuhan-400 is a per­fect weapon. It af­flicts only hu­man be­ings. No other liv­ing crea­ture,” the book says. The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the fic­tional virus and Covid-19 got Twit­ter users strug­gling to com­pre­hend the im­prob­a­ble co­in­ci­dence, the report said.

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