VIDEO: WHO holds emergency summit as China virus deaths rise - GulfToday

VIDEO: WHO holds emergency summit as China virus deaths rise


Masked pedestrians walk down a shopping street in downtown Wuhan, China, on Wednesday. AP

Various countries have become more vigilant as death toll from China’s new-flue rose to nine on Wednesday. The infection suspected to have come from animals has infected around 470 people, increasing tension across the globe

The transmittable coronavirus was first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, recently, more cases have been detected in the United States.

China, which usually deal with such issues privately has gone public this time. Sharing regular updates to head off panic as people travel for the Lunar New Year.

Corno-Hong-Kong-750x450 Passengers wear masks in the high speed train station in Hong Kong on Wednesday. AP

Officials are speculating the origin of the disease to be from a market where wildlife are traded illegally.

"The rise in the mobility of the public has objectively increased the risk of the epidemic spreading," National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin acknowledged.


A health officer screens arriving passengers from China at Changi International airport in Singapore on Wednesday. AFP 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has step up with an emergency meeting to find out if the outbreak was a global health emergency.

People from China are going through intense screening at airports around the world.

The Chinese-ruled gambling hub of Macau has increased body-temperature screening measures after it affirmed its first case of pneumonia linked to the coronavirus.

A first case of the virus emerged in Hong Kong on Wednesday, media reported. The patient arrived via high-speed railway from the mainland and had been quarantined.

North Korea banned foreign tourists from Wednesday due to the virus, several foreign tour operators said, losing one of its main sources of foreign currency.

Sport has also been affected, with some qualifying boxing matches for the 2020 Olympics set for Wuhan cancelled and women's football qualifiers shifted to Nanjing.



A man uses a thermographic camera to screen the head of people at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India, on Wednesday. AFP

China's Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the top legal authority in the communist-ruled country, posted on Tuesday that anyone failing to report virus cases "will be forever nailed to the pillar of historical shame."

Amid official exhortations to stay calm, many Chinese were cancelling trips, buying face masks, avoiding public places like cinemas and shopping centres, and even turning to an online plague simulation game or watching disaster movie "The Flu" as a way to cope.

"The best way to conquer fear is to confront fear," said one commentator on China's Twitter-like Weibo.

The virus has spread from Wuhan around China to more places including Beijing, Shanghai, Macau and Hong Kong. Abroad, the cases have been confirmed in Thailand, United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

President Donald Trump said the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a good containment plan. "We think it is going to be handled very well," he said at Davos in Switzerland.


Health official scan body temperatures of passengers as they arrive at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia, on Wednesday. AP

Li said the virus, which can cause pneumonia, is airborne. Symptoms to watch out for include fever, coughing and difficulty in breathing.

About 2,200 people that have been in contact with infected people have been quarantined. There is no vaccine for the virus.

Fears of the diseases has caused pandemonium, thereby, affecting the markets, with aviation and luxury goods stocks hit and the yuan falling, but they were regaining their footing on Wednesday in approval of China's containment response.

Across China, companies from Foxconn to Huawei Technologies and HSBC Holdings have been providing masks for staff and warning them to avoid Wuhan.

With more than 11 million people, Wuhan is central China's main industrial and commercial centre and an important transport hub, home to the country's largest inland port and gateway to its giant Three Gorges hydroelectric dam.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said new cases would appear as China stepped up monitoring. But Li said there was no evidence of "super-spreaders" capable of disseminating the virus more widely, as happened during the SARS outbreak. SARS was thought to have crossed to humans from civet cats sold for food.


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