New cases reported outside Hubei epicenter drop to single digit as China brings coronavirus epidemic under control

UNTV News   •   March 3, 2020   •   585

An encouraging trend that the spread of the virus is under control in China as the country reported just six new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) occurring outside the epicenter Hubei Province on Sunday.

According to data released by China’s National Health Commission on Monday, China had 202 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, 42 new deaths and 141 new suspected cases reported on Sunday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

“The above information suggests that the rapid rise of epidemic in Wuhan is under control, and in addition to Wuhan, the outbreak in other regions of Hubei is under control as well. The epidemic in other provinces outside Hubei shows a positive trend,” said Mi Feng, a spokesman with the National Health Commission.

A total of 2,837 patients were cured and discharged from hospitals on Sunday, among them, more than 270 patients were discharged from two temporary hospitals set up in Wuhan City, the highest number of patients to be discharged in a single day since the hospitals were set up nearly a month ago.

A total of 140 patients were cleared to leave the Jianghan Temporary Hospital, which was built in the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center, marking the largest number to leave within a single day. The temporary hospital has received and treated more than 1,800 people since February 5, two-thirds of whom have now been discharged.

Upon leaving the hospital, a patient surnamed Zhang shared his plan of donating his plasma, which doctors say can help treat those who are infected with COVID-19.

“I hope I can help more people within my reach since I have recovered,” said Zhang, adding that he is ready to go back to be a volunteer and serve more people.

Another 132 patients were discharged from the so-called “Wuhan Living Room” temporary hospital, which has received and treated 1,760 people since it was set up on February 5.

People of all professions and walks of life have been playing their own crucial roles in fighting the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, remaining resolute to the cause and supporting each other through the most difficult times.

Among them is 58-year-old Zhang Jinnong, director of the emergency department at the Wuhan Union Hospital, who was infected by the virus due to frequent contact with patients. He continued to make contributions to the epidemic prevention and control efforts during his two-week home quarantine period after recovering.

The doctor explored clinical treatment methods at home after analyzing his own experience as a patient, participated in case consultations through telecommunication, and also drafted preliminary diagnosis and treatment plans for the hospital’s upper respiratory tract infection and virus-like pneumonia cases.

As soon as he was cleared to return to the hospital, Zhang again resumed the fight, hoping to inspire and help others recover as he did.

“I have been a doctor for 35 years, it is my duty to heal the wounded and save the dying. I was infected then cured, which should give people some confidence. This is a war without gunpowder smoke, but as the director, if I fight on the frontline, then people will have more confidence,” said Zhang.

There are extra responsibilities after the outbreak, and young police officer Zhao Chuang has been among those serving his local district. With his police station covering an area with a lot of senior residents, Zhao has been helping to transfer elderly patients.

“Everybody is trying hard battling the epidemic, everybody has left his or her own family behind to help more people. Nobody is afraid of hard work or danger, so everybody is a hero,” said Zhao.

Since the outbreak, nearly 20,000 volunteers in Wuhan have devoted themselves to various voluntary services. In addition, many ordinary citizens in the city spontaneously formed volunteer teams to provide medical personnel with transport services, and provide residents with purchasing and delivery options for food and medicine.

“At first, I was very scared, worrying about my family, my classmates and friends. But after we’ve calmed down, we tried to figure out what can we do for the community, and for the city we love. We are determined to go wherever we are needed, trying to shoulder more social responsibilities,” said volunteer and student Zheng Xinyi from Wuhan University.

Volunteers are also helping foreigners in Wuhan to cope with their daily needs.

Steve McClure, a professor with Wuhan University, is one of the beneficiaries.

“We are making an incredible sacrifice in Wuhan. The volunteers are risking themselves to maintain connections among people in our community,” said the professor.

As positive signs continue to emerge regarding the epidemic control, people’s lives are gradually returning to normal.

From Monday, millions of students in Shanghai began tuning into online lessons from home. The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission has chosen over 1,000 teachers to pre-record these online classes, which is a new experience for many.

“We teachers are quite used to the physical environment of classrooms, but now we have to adapt to teaching online. In this current situation, I can’t see how they react to my lessons as I am talking in front of the camera,” said Wu Wentao, an English teacher of the Jianping High School.

Sun Jiayi, a student, has been taking online classes covering various topics like English and public health. Sun said that studying at home also comes with a different set of challenges. Since the teachers cannot hear or see the students, they may be distracted by food or their phones, but many are trying their best to pay attention.

“Although the teachers can’t hear your voice maybe, but you can try to answer it and talk to yourself,” said Sun, a student from Jianping High School in Shanghai.

Construction work has been restarting on an increasing number of infrastructure projects all across China after temporary suspensions were enforced after the COVID-19 outbreak.

As key participants of the global supply chain, China’s centrally-administered enterprises have taken multiple safety measures to fulfill overseas orders on time while going on to fight against the outbreak, showing the world Chinese enterprises’ resolution and capacity to fulfill contracts even during this trying time. (Reuters Connect)

China’s embassy in Kazakhstan warns citizens of pneumonia deadlier than COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2020

China’s embassy in Kazakhstan has warned its citizens on Thursday (July 9) to take precautions against an outbreak of pneumonia in the country that it says is more lethal than COVID-19.

It said in a statement on its official website late on Thursday that there had been a “significant increase” in cases in the cities of Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent since mid-June.

On Friday (July 10), however, Kazakhstan’s healthcare ministry branded Chinese media reports based on the embassy statement as “fake news”.

The ministry said its tallies of bacterial, fungal and viral pneumonia infections, which also included cases of unclear causes, were in line with World Health Organisation guidelines.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian declined to comment on the issue directly during a Friday (July 10) briefing in Beijing, instead referring media to “the relevant authorities in Kazakhstan”.

“China also hopes to obtain information on this,” Zhao said.

Kazakhstan, which imposed a second lockdown this week to rein in the coronavirus pandemic, has a tally of almost 55,000 COVID-19 infections, including 264 deaths. The number of new cases rose on Thursday to a daily record of 1,962.

On Tuesday (July 7), state news agency Kazinform said the number of pneumonia cases “increased 2.2 times in June as compared to the same period of 2019”.

In its statement, the Chinese embassy had said pneumonia in Kazakhstan killed 1,772 people in the year’s first half, with 628 deaths in June, including Chinese citizens.

It is unclear whether the said pneumonia it referred to was caused by a virus related to coronavirus or a different strain. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Fang Nanlin)

DOH warns public on possible airborne transmission of COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 10, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public on the possible airborne transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Despite the lack of further studies, the Health Department said they are not dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 might spread in the air. They reminded the public to always adhere to the health and safety protocols.

Patuloy po tayong natututo tungkol sa SARS-CoV-2 at COVID-19. Kabilang na nga po dito ang mode of transmission o paraan ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 (We are continuously learning about SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19. This includes the mode of transmission of COVID-19). It’s an evolving science and new evidence continues to roll out,” according to DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

More than 200 scientists urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge the possibility of airborne transmission. According to a study, “viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”

The WHO previously dismissed the possibility of airborne transmission but said they will release a scientific brief summary regarding the collected data on the modes of transmission of COVID-19

“This is a respiratory pathogen and so it is important that what we know is it fits into the guidance that we have, which is why a comprehensive package of interventions is required to be able to stop transmission,” according to WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19 Pandemic Maria Van Kerkhove.

Meanwhile, the DOH said they will also review and verify the evidence and studies about COVID-19 in order to provide appropriate information and advisories to the public.AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Quezon City Hall of Justice closed after 4 personnel contract COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Hall of Justice building and its annex will be temporarily shut down after four of its court officers and employees tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the city government announced on Friday.

The city government said Mayor Joy Belmonte ordered the closure of the buildings for seven days of until the city’s Epidemiological and Disease Surveillance Unit (QC-ESU) has completed the appropriate testing and containment measures.

In her letter to Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert and Metropolitan Trial Court Executive Judge Ace Alagar, Belmonte explained that her decision to temporarily shut down the Hall of Justice is to enforce measures during epidemic or outbreak to prevent spread of disease.

QC-ESU head Dr. Rolly Cruz said they will conduct exhaustive contact tracing of all those who were in close contact with the court officers and employees who were found positive and perform follow-up testing as necessary.

Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases shall be placed on home quarantine or isolation in a quarantine facility as feasible under the circumstances, he added.

Meanwhile, the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) started the thorough surface disinfection and misting of the whole City Hall complex.

The agency said the disinfection began on Thursday and will last until Sunday.

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