VIDEO: American dies of Coronavirus in China; Britons infected at French ski resort - GulfToday

VIDEO: American dies of Coronavirus in China; Britons infected at French ski resort

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People wearing facemasks as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak walk at Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area on Saturday. AFP

Every day new cases of the coronavirus outbreak are surfacing. This only serves to spotlight the alarming gravity of the crisis, which not only the Chinese regime but governments around the world too are tackling full-on, some strengthening preventive measures.

 

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8-750x450Staff from the US embassy walk in a cargo plane, chartered by the State Department to evacuate Americans and Canadians from China, during the boarding process at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport. Reuters

 

In the first of its kind, an American national in China has become the first casualty of the virus. A Japanese citizen, who was suspected to be infected with the virus, also died.

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A 60-year-old American has died of the new Coronavirus, the first confirmed non-Chinese death of the illness, US officials said, as millions of Chinese began returning home after a Lunar New Year break that was extended to try to contain the outbreak.

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While the vast majority of cases have been in China, the virus has spread to some two-dozen countries abroad, including five British nationals infected in a French ski resort.

Coronavirus-ManilaA man and his son wear facemasks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus outbreak. File

The death toll in mainland China rose to 722 on Saturday, according to authorities, and is expected to pass the 774 deaths recorded globally during the 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

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The American man died on Thursday in Wuhan, epicentre of the virus outbreak in the central Chinese province of Hubei, a US embassy spokesman said in Beijing on Saturday.

10-750x450A nurse feeds water to a patient in the isolation ward for 2019-nCoV patients at a hospital in Wuhan. AP

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss," he said. "Out of the respect for the family's privacy, we have no further comment."

A Japanese man in his sixties and hospitalised with pneumonia in Wuhan, capital of Hubei, also died after suffering symptoms consistent with the new Coronavirus, Japan's foreign ministry said.

 


China's Communist Party rulers have sealed off cities, cancelled flights and closed factories, a response that has dented the world's second-biggest economy and had ripple effects globally for financial markets and businesses dependent on China.

Most of the deaths in China have occurred in and around Wuhan. Across mainland China, the number of cases stood at 31,774 as of Saturday

Be vigilant Travellers wearing facemasks arrive at an airport in China.

"Light a candle and pay tribute to the hero," said one Weibo commentator. "You were the beam of light in the night."

 

The virus has spread to 27 countries and regions, according to a Reuters count based on official reports, infecting more than 330 people. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China — in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Both victims were Chinese nationals.

The latest patients include five British nationals staying in the same chalet at a ski resort in Haute-Savoie in the Alps, health officials said, raising fears of further infections at a busy period in the ski season.

The five had stayed in the same ski chalet with a person who had been in Singapore. They were not in a serious condition, the officials said.

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Hidden among the statistics are poignant tales of grief and frustration. Canadian mother Amelia Pan is at home while her two-year-old daughter, Cerena, is running a fever and stranded in Hubei where her father has contracted the virus.

"I am just hanging in there," Pan said in a Skype interview. "I need to stay strong so I can fight for my family."

TESLA FACTORY TO REOPEN

China's economy will sputter towards normal on Monday, as millions return from the provinces to the big cities after the biggest holiday of the year. The holiday was extended, but many workplaces will remain closed and many white-collar workers will continue to work from home.

US electric carmaker Tesla's factory in Shanghai will resume production on Monday, a government official said on Saturday.

Apple Inc said it was working to reopen its China corporate offices and call centres and was making preparations to reopen retail stores there.

But Chinese authorities have blocked a plan by Apple supplier Foxconn to resume production from Feb.10 over concerns about the spread of the virus, Japan’s Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

 

Agencies