Published: Thu, February 13, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

China Moves to Ease Mounting Anger With Reset of Virus Fight

China Moves to Ease Mounting Anger With Reset of Virus Fight

Shanghai mayor to serve as top party official in hard-hit Hubei province as health official struggle to deal with cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by a novel coronavirus.

Health officials added that four vaccines for the virus are in development.

A Vietnamese health official wearing a protective suit amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak sprays disinfectant on a motorcyle at a checkpoint in Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on Thursday.

The patient was among 232 people under quarantine at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar after being airlifted out of Wuhan earlier this month, CDC spokeswoman Ana Toro said.

One of the new cases was a quarantine officer.

Hundreds of infections have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and territories, but only two people have died from the virus outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Many countries have implemented travel restrictions on recent visitors to China, which has more than 99 per cent of the world's reported infections.

Critics say precious time was lost by the early inaction of the local government. "It seems, Chinese authorities were lab testing only the hospitalized cases initially, but with the current scale of epidemic, it is just not feasible to test every suspected case in real time", said noted virologist, Dr G ArunKumar, who heads the Manipal Institute of Virology.

As the figures soared in China, a troubling new front opened overseas as neighbouring Vietnam placed 10,000 people under quarantine after six COVID-19 cases were discovered in a cluster of villages - the first such action taken in a country other than China.

"It doesn't have too much of an impact on our life, except that we're not allowed to go out", Xu said.

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"The jump in cases today reflects the broader definition", he said.

An advance team of World Health Organization experts has been in China since Monday.

The team is here to "discuss specific arrangements for the China-WHO joint mission with the Chinese side", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily online briefing.

"And we're also sending supplies of masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment to protect frontline health workers in 18 countries that need our support, and we have more in the pipeline".

In Vietnam, official media reported that a village of 10,000 northwest of the capital, Hanoi, was put in lockdown due to a cluster of cases there. Vietnam has confirmed 16 cases, majority in the province.

"And I will spell it, C-O-V-I-D-hyphen-one-nine", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on February 12, 2020.

Another cruise ship, the Westerdam, finally anchored Thursday off Cambodia after being turned away by several Asian and Pacific governments.

Dr Tedros also praised Cambodia for taking in the Westerdam, a United States cruise ship that had earlier been turned away from ports in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan despite having no sick patients on board.

According to the ship's operator, Holland America, none of the 1,400 passengers and 800 crew members were infected with the virus. "In Singapore, we are at the beginning".

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