China continues to see positive signs in epidemic control as case numbers fall

UNTV News   •   March 4, 2020   •   296

China continues to see positive signs that its epidemic control measures are proving successful, with the country reporting just 11 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease outside the epicenter Hubei Province on Monday.

The recovery rate of the coronavirus remains promising, with 2,742 people being discharged from hospitals across the country on Monday after recovering, while the number of severe cases decreased by 304 to 6,806.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday paid a visit to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and the School of Medicine at Tsinghua University in Beijing and stressed the need to advance scientific research into COVID-19 so as to provide greater support for winning the battle against the epidemic.

Xi also learned about the progress of research into the virus and about the application of potential vaccines, anti-bodies, and medicines as well as the fast testing kits used to detect the disease.

There was more good news when two elderly patients, both aged in their late nineties, were discharged from hospitals in Wuhan over the past two days after recovery from their respective infections.

One of them was a 98-year-old man surnamed Hu who was on Sunday discharged from the purpose-built Leishenshan Hospital, while the other was a 97-year-old woman who was discharged from Wuhan’s Xiehe Hospital on Saturday.

While medical staff are risking their lives to save others, more and more people have stepped forward as volunteers to take care of the relatives of frontline medical workers who have been transferred to Wuhan from across China, helping put their minds at ease while looking out for their families’ needs.

In Chongqing Municipality of southwest China, for example, more than 7,700 volunteers have been helping the families of about 4,500 medical workers who were sent to fight the epidemic in local hospitals or in the epicenter Hubei Province.

The volunteers not only help with the daily routines of the family members, but also attend to the other needs of seniors and children.

Among those helping is Wu Hongmei, who has been regularly offering fresh food for the parents-in-law and the daughter of doctor He Wei, who is now aiding the efforts in Hubei.

Doctor He left for Xiaogan on Jan. 26, while his wife, also a doctor, has been busy working at a local hospital.

Wu has been taking care of the He’s family since late January and, in addition to sending them food and medical supplies, she also cheerfully chats with them like a member of the family on each visit.

In order to prevent the risk of pollution from medical staff, an environmental protection company in Wuhan City has been processing the medical waste of hospitals that admit patients infected with the virus.

On January 23, Wuhan authorities quickly called upon the Wuhan North Lake Yunfeng Environmental Protection Technology company to offer its services as a backup for disposing of medical waste, as the facility can burn up to 15 tons of waste per day.

When processing the waste, the workers have to do it manually as the machines aren’t made for such delicate work. However, this potentially adds risk as the workers are in close contact with the medical waste. As a result, workers take extra precautions and disinfect every step of the way.

“Since the materials are in small, fragile packages that cannot be processed by our mechanical feeding systems as they will break easily, which will increase the risk of getting infected, we have to do it like this. Our staff members pour the waste into the duct. The danger of the process is close contact with the medical waste. So, we will disinfect the medical waste upon arrival and then pour it into our processing system. Then we will disinfect the empty buckets before loading them back onto the trucks,” said Mei Gang, general manager of the company.

Support also continues to pour in from overseas, with some hailing China’s efforts in curbing the epidemic and noting how the country’s experiences are worth learning from.

“We highly praise China’s efforts in epidemic control and prevention, especially its good cooperation with the World Health Organization. Relevant organizations have carried out cooperation through different channels to share information and experiences. Research made by China in this area has also benefited the world a lot,” said Mohammed Alabdu-Alaly, spokesman, Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia.

“The experience of China is very important for us. The Ministry of Health of China provided us with a technical document, the updating technical document on the procedures that China are working to control the coronavirus, and we will study this document, and we will contact the representative here (in China) in Ministry of Health via Skype or video to exchange our experience and to ask them if we need any more details,” said Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed.

Others are confident that China’s economy will recover despite the severity of the epidemic, and are encouraged by the future prospects.

“It is also good for business that China has taken these steps, because the recovery will lead to once again the re-connection, re-establishment of business ties between China and South Africa and the African continent. But all in all, we wish the people of China a speedy recovery,” Iqbal Surve, Executive Chairman, Independent Media Group in South Africa.

As business slowly returns to normal across China, another batch of major projects have also restarted their construction work with various measures put in place to prevent and control the spread of the virus, among them are the construction of the Beijing-Xiongan expressway, railway bridge and shale gas production.

While the domestic situation continues to make progress, China has also showed its support to other countries which are seeing a growing number of confirmed cases such as South Korea.

“China and South Korea are friendly neighbors who assist each other and share weal and woe. Since the epidemic of the novel coronavirus-caused pneumonia broke out, the two countries have encouraged and supported each other, truly meriting the names of ‘a community of shared destiny, and a community of shared goal of defeating the epidemic.’ According to incomplete statistics, people from all social circles in South Korea and Chinese-funded entities in South Korea have donated more than 200 million yuan (about 29 million U.S. dollars). We are deeply grateful for this,” said Xing Haiming, Chinese Ambassador to South Korea. (Reuters Connect)


No near-term decision on Tokyo 2020 Olympics, says WHO

UNTV News   •   February 28, 2020

No decision will be made on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the near future in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (February 27).

WHO officials said the new coronavirus outbreak has reached a “decisive point” and had the potential to become a pandemic.

With less than five months to go until the Olympics begin, WHO emergencies program head Dr. Mike Ryan said they were working closely with organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games, providing them with assessment and risk management advice.

On Wednesday Tokyo 2020 officials said they are considering scaling down the torch relay due to concerns over the outbreak

The committee’s basic stance was that the Olympics and Paralympics would go ahead as planned, Tokyo 2020 CEO, Toshiro Muto told reporters.

Japan has moved to quell fears that the Olympics might be canceled after International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said the Games would more likely be canceled than postponed or moved if the virus forced any change in the schedule. (REUTERS)

S.Korea boy band BTS cancels April Seoul concert on coronavirus concerns

UNTV News   •   February 28, 2020

K-Pop boy band BTS canceled its scheduled April concert in Seoul, amid growing concerns of the new coronavirus outbreak, the band’s agency said on Friday (February 28).

BTS had scheduled a “Map of the Soul” tour for April 11, 12, 18 and 19 at Seoul’s Jamsil Olympic Stadium, according to its music label, Big Hit Entertainment.

“The current global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has made it impossible at this time to predict the scale of the outbreak during the dates of the concert in April,” the agency said in a statement.

South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 2,022. (REUTERS CONNECT)

(Production: Minwoo Park)

Dozens allowed off virus-hit cruise ship in Japan show disease symptoms

UNTV News   •   February 26, 2020

A total of 45 passengers who were allowed to leave the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship moored at Yokohama Port have developed certain symptoms, according to a Japanese official on Wednesday.

The government has contacted 813 passengers who tested negative and left the ship last week, among whom 45 have shown symptoms such as fevers, said Katsunobu Kato, Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

He added that the ministry has asked the 45 people to visit hospital and receive tests based on doctor’s advice.

Diamond Princess, initially carrying around 3,700 passengers and crew from more than 50 countries and regions, has been quarantined at the Yokohama Port since Feb. 5 after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong on Jan. 25 tested positive for novel coronavirus.

After 14 days of quarantine, passengers who tested negative for the disease and had not shown any symptom were allowed to leave the ship on Feb. 19. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)


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