This image has been used for illustrative purpose.
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.
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.
France’s health minister Agnes Buzyn said all the five new coronavirus cases in France were those of British nationals.
According a report in an Australian newspaper, a child quarantined on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, was being tested for the coronavirus.
The number of deaths in China due to the virus has spiralled to 722. The total accumulated number of cases on the mainland rose to 34,546.
The ruling Communist Party faced a nasty backlash from the public over the death of a whistleblower-doctor who was threatened by police after trying to sound the alarm about the disease over a month ago.
The US Embassy in Beijing said a 60-year-old citizen diagnosed with the virus died in Wuhan on Thursday.
Cruise ship passengers faced more woes as Japan reported three more cases for a total of 64 on one quarantined vessel and turned away another. President Xi Jinping spoke with President Donald Trump on Friday and urged the US to "respond reasonably" to the outbreak, echoing complaints that some countries are overreacting by restricting Chinese travelers.
Following an online uproar over the government's treatment of Dr. Li Wenliang, the Communist Party struck a conciliatory note, saying it was sending a team to "fully investigate relevant issues raised by the public.”
Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, contracted the virus while treating patients, and his death was confirmed early on Friday. Li, one of eight medical professionals in Wuhan who tried to warn colleagues and others when the government did not, had said that police forced him to sign a statement admitting he spread falsehood.
Even the staunchly pro-government Global Times newspaper said the treatment of Li and other whistleblowers was "evidence of local authorities' incompetence to tackle a contagious and deadly virus."
The episode has raised longstanding complaints that party officials lie about or cover up disease outbreaks, chemical spills, dangerous consumer products or financial fraud. Chinese citizens can be jailed on charges of rumour-mongering or making trouble.
Most of the deaths from the virus had been of older people with existing health problems, but disease specialists said Li's work – eye doctors sit very close to their patients during examinations – may have subjected him to an extra large dose of the virus that made his illness more severe.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said foreign passengers on another ship, Holland America's Westerdam, won't be allowed into Japan. He said suspected virus patients were on board. The ship, with more than 2,000 people, was near Okinawa and was seeking another port, said Overseas Travel Agency official Mie Matsubara.
Hong Kong began enforcing a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from mainland China.
The US announced later it was prepared to spend up to $100 million to help china and other countries fight the outbreak.
McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski called the situation "fluid" and "concerning," and said the chain decided to close all of its restaurants in Hubei, which amount to "several hundred."
Esper's comments come at a time when some US officials have blamed China for the coronavirus outbreak. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday Washington had evidence the disease emerged from a Chinese lab, which Beijing strongly denies.
They also talked about beating the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change and working together to hold those responsible for the coup in Myanmar, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticise power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its citation.
“On the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), we continue to be guided by his noble character, his timeless values, and his inspirational legacy of kindness, friendship and empathy for all of humanity.” tweeted Sheikh Mohamed.
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