Japan reports first coronavirus death, the second outside China
Marje Pelayo • February 14, 2020 • 245
TOKYO, Japan – The Ministry of Health announced on Thursday (February 13) the country’s first death from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the second fatality outside China, the outbreak’s country of origin.
According to Health Minister Katsunobu Kato, the woman in her 80s fell ill in January but was hospitalized for showing symptoms of pneumonia.
She was transferred to another hospital but her condition worsened.
Kato said evidence of coronavirus infection was only confirmed after her death.
The woman was from Kanagawa prefecture.
She was the mother-in-law of a taxi driver in Tokyo who was among the three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in Japan, Kato said.
The Health Ministry identified the other two as a man in his 20s from Chiba, and a doctor in his 50s from Wakayama Prefecture.
Meanwhile, Kato said they would allow elderly passengers who have tested negative for COVID-19 on the quarantined cruise liner the Diamond Princess to disembark ahead of schedule and continue their quarantine onshore.
Among countries affected by the virus, Japan is the worst affected with a total of 251 confirmed cases.
Japan confirmed ten new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Monday, driving the number of infected patients up to 850.
Of the ten infected, four were in Hokkaido and one of them a teacher. Thus the local authorities decided to suspend classes of the school where the teacher works from Tuesday to March 6.
The total confirmed cases in Tokyo Prefecture reached 32, including three new confirmed cases on Monday.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Monday that a staff member of the Ministry and a quarantine officer who worked at the cruise ship got infected.
So far, six civil servants, two quarantine officers, three staff members of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and a staffer of the Cabinet Secretariat, who worked on Diamond Princess cruise ship have been infected with the disease.
Japanese experts on Monday issued a statement saying the coming one to two weeks will be a critical time for the disease to spread rapidly or subside.
The statement also says confirmed cases without identified infection sources have emerged in several places, implying that the epidemic may speed up spreading and asks the people to avoid gathering. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)
In his first visit to Daegu since the outbreak began, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (February 25) that the government will “win the fight” against the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country rose to 893.
About 68 percent of South Korea’s cases have been linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Of 60 new cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located.
Last week the government decided to designate Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo County as “special care zones”.
Moon on Tuesday sought to reassure residents that the government was not considering locking down the area. (South Korea’s Presidential Office via Reuters Connect)
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)
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