China Battles coronavirus Outbreak

China and countries around the world are scrambling to contain the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed at least 106 people and infected more than 4,500.

Germany has reported its first case of the virus, as the United States and Canada upgraded travel warnings to advise their citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China.

More than 56 million people in almost 20 Chinese cities – including Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and the epicentre of the virus – have been prevented from travelling in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus during the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, traditionally China’s busiest travel season.

nada upgraded travel warnings to advise their citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China.

More than 56 million people in almost 20 Chinese cities – including Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and the epicentre of the virus – have been prevented from travelling in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus during the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, traditionally China’s busiest travel season.

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is currently in China.

The agency has acknowledged the respiratory illness is an emergency in China but said last week it was too early to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. It has described the global risk from the virus as high.

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, January 28

France reports fourth coronavirus case

An elderly Chinese tourist in a “serious condition” in a Paris hospital is France’s fourth confirmed case of the new coronavirus that has killed more than 100 people since it emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, France’s top health official said.

The man, visiting France from the hard-hit Chinese province of Hubei, was being treated in intensive care by medical staff, health director general Jerome Salomon told reporters in the capital.

China agrees to WHO sending experts to study virus

China has agreed that the World Health Organization will send international experts there as soon as possible to increase understanding of a new coronavirus and guide the global response to the outbreak, the UN agency said.

In a statement after a two-day visit by WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who met Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as the health and foreign ministers, it said that a better understanding of the virus’s ability to spread from person to person was urgently needed to advise other countries.

“The discussions focused on continued collaboration on containment measures in Wuhan, public health measures in other cities and provinces, conducting further studies on the severity and transmissibility of the virus, continuing to share data, and for China to share biological material with WHO,” the WHO said.

“The two sides agreed that WHO will send international experts to visit China as soon as possible to work with Chinese counterparts on increasing understanding of the outbreak to guide global response efforts,” the WHO added, without giving a timeframe.

EU to evacuate hundreds of citizens from China

The European Union is dispatching two flights to evacuate at least 350 healthy European citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The 28-nation union activated a disaster-response mechanism to organise the flights at the request of France, which has a large number of citizens in the Wuhan region.

The initial flights will only carry healthy EU citizens or those without symptoms of the virus, the European Commission said in a statement. It said the EU is ready to mobilise further flights in the coming days.

The first flight will carry about 250 French citizens. More than 100 other EU citizens will travel on the second flight. The EU will cofinance the flights.

US prepares to airlift citizens out of Wuhan

The US government chartered a plane to fly out diplomats from the US Consulate in Wuhan, where the outbreak started, along with other Americans.

Four people quarantined in Ethiopia over coronavirus fears

Ethiopia said it has quarantined four people suspected of contracting the novel coronavirus.

The suspected cases were identified through a screening conducted at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and the four have been quarantined at the Bole Tafa centre, the Ethiopian health ministry and Public Health Institute said in a joint press statement.

“All four suspects came from Wuhan city in Hubei province in China where the virus is taking the biggest toll and where it was first identified,” it said.

“The specimen[s] from the four suspects have been sent to South Africa for further examination,” the statement said.

US asks China for ‘more cooperation and transparency’ on virus

US Health Secretary Alex Azar urged China to be open and transparent about the new coronavirus that has hit the country, while also saying travel restrictions must remain an option on the table.

Azar said the US was offering Beijing assistance.

“We are urging China: More cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take to a more effective response,” Azar said at a press conference in Washington.

German authorities expand travel measures against coronavirus

Germany will introduce new reporting requirements for airlines and hospitals to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus from China, Health Minister Jens Spahn says.

Pilots on flights from China will have to inform air traffic control towers about the health status of their passengers before landing at German airports.

Incoming travellers from China will also be asked to fill out forms that detail how they can be reached in the 30 days after their arrival.

The airlines are to keep this information on file during that time so that contact can be made in cases of infection – for instance, in cases where they seek details on who was sitting next to whom.

Coronavirus: How residents cope with life under lockdown in Wuhan

Residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan are finding creative ways to combat the boredom of life under quarantine as the country seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Videos on Chinese social media give tips on how to cope indoors, which include breaking out in impromptu lion dances and fishing indoors.

One couple turned their dining table into a makeshift tennis table to play ping-pong.

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