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Coronavirus outbreak: How China virus is affecting the world | India News


NEW DELHI: The death toll in China due to novel coronavirus epidemic has jumped to 170 with 38 more fatalities reported mainly from the worst-affected central Hubei province, China’s government said on Thursday. The government further confirmed that more than 1,700 new infections have been reported. While the Asian giant reels to contain the virus, here are the latest updates on the epidemic:

How is Coronavirus affecting the world

India reports first case of Coronavirus

Health ministry confirmed that a student of Wuhan University, China, who travelled to Kerala, India, has tested positive for Coronavirus (nCoV). The patient, who is in isolation at the hospital, is stable and is being closely monitored. Health officials said that the case from Kerala was informed by NIV Pune and that they will set in place a Nipah like protocol.

At present, 10 people are in isolation ward at different hospitals and the health department had sent 18 samples for testing to NIV, Pune.


Spread of China’s novel Coronavirus

China’s National Health Commission said on Thursday that 1,370 patients remained in critical conditions, and 12,167 people were suspected of being infected with the virus by the end of Wednesday. A total of 124 people have been discharged from hospital after recovery.

A total of 1,737 new confirmed cases, including the first in Tibet, and 4,148 new suspected cases, and 38 deaths – 37 in Hubei Province and one in Sichuan Province – were reported by Wednesday.

A total of 88,693 close contacts had been traced, the commission said, adding that among them, 2,364 were discharged from medical observation on Wednesday, with 81,947 others still under medical observation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 10 confirmed cases were reported by Wednesday.

So far, five cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in the United States, none of them fatal.

A family of four Chinese tourists in the United Arab Emirates became the Mideast’s first cases of the virus.


Coronavirus cases in China surpasses SARS cases

Mainland China now has more cases of coronavirus than it had of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a respiratory infection that spread across China in 2002 and 2003 and killed 774 people in 17 countries.

During the SARS outbreak, China had 5,327 cases and 349 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

In comparison to the new virus, the SARS virus killed about 10% of people who caught it. The new virus is from the coronavirus family, which includes those that can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS and MERS.


WHO to decide if Wuhan Coronavirus is a global emergency

The World Health Organization emergencies chief said the few cases of human-to-human spread of the virus outside China -in Japan, Germany, Canada and Vietnam-were of “great concern” and were part of the reason the U.N. health agency’s director-general was reconvening a committee of experts on Thursday to assess whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.

The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.

Dr. Michael Ryan spoke at a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday after returning from a trip to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior government leaders. He said China was taking “extraordinary measures in the face of an extraordinary challenge“ posed by the outbreak.

To date, about 99% of the cases are in China. Ryan estimated the death rate of the new virus at 2%, but said the figure was very preliminary. With fluctuating numbers of cases and deaths, scientists are only able to produce a rough estimate of the fatality rate and it’s likely many milder cases of the virus are being missed.

The World Health Organisation’s global risk assessment for 2019-nCoV is “high”. It is “very high” for China, the source of the outbreak. But the UN body hasn’t declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” — or PHEIC — like the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.


Airlines suspend flights to Chinese cities

A number of global airlines, including Air India, British Airways, Lion Air and Indigo airlines on Wednesday suspended their flights to Chinese cities.

British Airways halted all flights to China and American Airlines suspended Los Angeles flights to and from Shanghai.

Air India and South Korean budget carrier Seoul Air are also halting all flights to the country, and Indonesia’s Lion Air plans to do the same. Other carriers including Finnair, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia are slashing service.

Air India suspended its flights on Delhi-Shanghai route from January 31 to February 14. IndiGo airlines also suspended its flights on the Bengaluru-Hong Kong route from February 1 and on the Delhi-Chengdu route from February 1 to 20.

Beijing too has been asking Chinese not to travel at home and abroad in view of the virus.


US companies in China struggle to re-open

In a conference call Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company’s suppliers in China have been forced to delay reopening factories that closed for the Lunar New Year holiday until Feb. 10.

Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, the maker of the popular LOL dolls, said he’s nervous that many workers won’t come back to factories and they may close.

Starbucks’ shares tumbled 2.5% Wednesday after the company said it will take a financial hit from store closures in China. The Seattle-based coffee giant said more than half of its 4,292 stores in China are now closed. China represented 10% of Starbucks’ revenue during its most recent quarter.

By contrast, McDonald’s shares were up 2% Wednesday after the company said the financial impact so far has been minimal. McDonald closed several hundred restaurants, including all of its properties in Hubei province. But 3,000 remain open elsewhere in the country. China accounts for 4-5% of McDonalds’ revenue.


Virus anxiety hits global markets

Asian stocks slipped while gold and bonds were in demand on Thursday as worries about the spread of a new virus from China sent investors heading for safety.

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, as expected, although bank Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments about a low inflation outlook added to U.S. government bonds’ appeal.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.8% to an almost seven-week low. Japan’s Nikkei fell 1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng extended Wednesday’s drop and Taiwan’s benchmark index opened 1.5% lower in its first session since the Lunar New Year break.

Yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries, which fall when prices rise, tumbled nearly 9 basis points overnight to 1.5790%, and drifted lower to 1.5750% in Asian trade, not far above a three-month low of 1.5700% hit on Tuesday.


How is China trying to contain the virus

China has cut off access to the central city of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. That has trapped more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease control measures ever imposed. The outbreak has infected more than 6,000 on the mainland and abroad.

Villages on the outskirts of Beijing closed themselves off to outsiders, with residents blocking roads with piles of earth and standing guard to prevent outsiders and their vehicles from entering.

In 48 hours, over 500 construction workers converted an empty building into a 1,000-bed hospital in the Huangzhou district. Originally, the hospital was to open in May. In addtition, four pre-fabricated buildings are being moddeled to be used as medical health centres. China’s government is also constructing a brand new hospital in Wuhan where currently hundereds of construction workers are working round the clock.


Foreign nationals evacuate China

Nearly 200 Americans airlifted from China in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak arrived on Wednesday at a U.S. military base in California, where they will remain isolated for at least 72 hours. In Tokyo, the second group of Japanese evacuees arrived aboard a government-chartered flight. The European Union was working to bring back 600 citizens from 14 countries.

Sporting events in China were also postponed and Olympic qualifying tournaments were moved elsewhere. China’s women’s soccer team was quarantined in Australia ahead of an Olympic qualifying tournament. None of the players has shown symptoms.

More than a dozen nations with a handful of cases — including the United States — are isolating patients and monitoring their contacts, as well as screening travelers from China and urging people to postpone trips there.


What is new in the China virus outbreak

Scientists have identified the illness as a new kind of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others have evolved into more severe illnesses, such as SARS and MERS, although so far the new virus does not appear to be as deadly or contagious.

Symptoms of the new virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. But whether this virus can be contained depends on factors still unknown, like just how contagious it is and when in the course of the infection the virus starts to spread.

Among patients with the Wuhan coronavirus, about 20% have become seriously ill, and the rest have a mild illness, the WHO said at a news briefing on Wednesday. So far, the death rate appears to be about 2%, but that is not certain yet. Those who die tend to be older people with underlying ailments. The median age of the first 425 patients in China was 59, and a little more than half were male, according to a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

Diseases caused by related coronaviruses are deadlier: SARS killed 10%, and MERS about 35%.

But if the new virus were to spread even more widely and a 2% mortality rate continued, the death toll could be considerable. Seasonal flu, with a much lower overall death rate of 0.1%, kills more than half a million people worldwide every year.


What is a virus?

Viruses are smaller than bacteria. Scientists can’t agree if they are living or not. Viruses cannot reproduce independently of a host. They can parasite all life forms such as animal, plant, fungus and bacteria. Specific viruses depend on specific hosts. They hijack cells to use the host’s cellular machinery for reproduction. They exit everywhere on the planet. In the past five years the number of species identified have increased by 20 times.

The Wuhan coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is part of a family of viruses named for the effect created by spike proteins on their shells, or capsids.

Seven kinds of coronavirus can infect people which includes 2019-nCoV, SARS and MERS.

Coronaviruses are initially transmitted from animals to humans. China says 2019-nCoV can be transmitted between people.

Times of India