China’s approach to containing epidemic contributes to global medical community — WHO

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020   •   352

China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of the new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and continuously deadly epidemic, said an official with the World Health Organization (WHO) Monday.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Bruce Aylward, head of WHO Experts Advance Team, said China has undertaken aggressive efforts in effectively fighting the virus and its experience will contribute to the global medical community’s knowledge in tackling the virus.

Experts led by Aylward and those from China have just completed a joint mission starting from Feb. 16 and returned from central China’s Wuhan City, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He said, “But what we found was even though every province was suffering outbreaks and was getting infected, the governors were prioritizing the movement of medical teams and PVE out to Hubei and Wuhan. That’s a very important message for the rest of the world about how we work in the kind of solidarity, collaborative action that’s going to be needed to beat this virus. And the opinion of the joint mission, after looking at it very, very closely and in different ways, that there is no question that China’s bold approach to the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of what was a rapidly escalating and continuously be a deadly epidemic.”

China’s efforts have reduced at least 10,000 or even tens of thousands of possible infected cases, and its efforts can be recommended to the rest of the world, he added.

Apart from Wuhan, the 25 experts also visited Beijing, south China’s Guangzhou City and southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and talked to officials, medical workers and the public.

The joint mission found that even though people of all ages can be infected by the virus, the average age of patients is 51. Even as over 3,000 medical staff have been infected, new confirmed cases are on the decline.

“So first of all, the purpose of the mission right now was to look at what works, I’m not avoiding the question, but the purpose was what works. The single biggest lesson is speed, speed is everything. But what worries me most is, has the rest of the world learned the lesson of speed,” he said. (CGTN / CCTV VIA REUTERS CONNECT)

China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.

Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.

The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Irene Wang)

Coronavirus turns Japan business mood negative for first time in 7 years

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Japanese manufacturers turned pessimistic for the first time in seven years in the three months to March, the central bank’s “tankan” survey showed on Wednesday (April 1), as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the economy closer to recession.

Non-manufacturers’ sentiment also worsened to levels not seen in seven years as travel bans, event cancellations and social distancing policies hurt consumption, clouding an already darkening outlook for the economy. The data underscores the challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in stopping the pandemic wiping out the benefits his “Abenomics” stimulus policies have brought to the economy.

The headline index measuring big manufacturers’ sentiment worsened to minus 8 in March from zero in December, the survey showed, compared with a median market forecast of minus 10. It was the first time in seven years the big manufacturers’ index turned negative.

The pandemic has hit an economy that had already suffered the fastest contraction in 5-1/2 years in the December quarter due to last year’s sales tax hike and the U.S.-China trade war. (Reuters)

(Production: Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Philippines eyes COVID-19 mass testing on April 14

Marje Pelayo   •   April 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The national government is planning to kick start a massive testing for persons suspected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on April 14.

This is according to the chief implementer of the national action plan against the disease, Secretary Carlito Galvez, during a briefing on Thursday (April 2) at Camp Aguinaldo following certification issued by Research Institute on Tropical Medicine (RITM) for several hospitals to run as COVID-19 testing centers.

“We are also determined to fast track the accreditation of subnational laboratories so we can start the massive testing of PUIs and PUMs,” Galvez said.

“We expect that by April 14, we shall be able to start massive testing,” he added.

Galvez said massive testing is expected to help curb the spread of COVID-19 while noting a slow- down in infection in the recent days.

“If you’ll see the data, the increase of the new cases has been 322, which is lower than the highest cases that we have last few days ago of 538,” Galvez said.

“This is a good sign that we are gaining the battle despite the many tests that we have right now,” he added.

In the next 10 days, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) expects the completion of the conversion of several government establishments into COVID-19 quarantine facilities in Metro Manila including the Rizal Complex, the World Trade Center, the Philippine International Convention Center, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

At present, the country has a total of eight Accredited COVID-19 Testing centers:

  • Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  • Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center
  • San Lazaro Hospital
  • Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
  • Southern Philippines Medical Center
  • University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health
  • Lung Center of the Philippines
  • Western Visayas Medical Center

The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, reported a number of healthcare facilities seeking approval for COVID-19 testing to help identify suspected carriers and immediately address their conditions.

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