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China reports 5,000 new coronavirus cases

9 Comments
By Yilei Sun and Prak Chan Thul

China's coronavirus outbreak showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases, while passengers on a cruise ship blocked from five countries due to virus fears finally disembarked in Cambodia.

News of the first death from the virus in Japan rattled Asian markets, already on edge after hopes that the epidemic was stabilizing appeared to be dashed by a sharp rise in the number of cases on Thursday.

In its latest update, China's National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Feb. 13, taking the accumulated total infected to 63,851 people.

Some 55,748 people are currently undergoing treatment, while 1,380 people have died of the flu-like virus that emerged in Hubei province's capital, Wuhan, in December.

The new figures give no indication the outbreak is nearing a peak, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, an infectious diseases expert at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

"Based on the current trend in confirmed cases, this appears to be a clear indication that while the Chinese authorities are doing their best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the fairly drastic measures they have implemented to date would appear to have been too little, too late," he said.

The epidemic has given China's ruling Communist Party one of its sternest challenges in years, constrained the world's second-largest economy and triggered a purge of provincial bureaucrats.

Japan confirmed its first coronavirus death on Thursday - a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo. The death was the third outside mainland China, after two others in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Japan is one of the worst affected of more than two dozen countries and territories outside mainland China that have seen hundreds of infections.

The world's third-largest economy is already bracing for a sharp slowdown in growth and some analysts expect another contraction in the current quarter as the virus outbreak hurts exports, output and consumption through a sharp drop in overseas tourists.

"Investors will surely avoid Asia for the time being and will shift funds to the U.S., geographically the most separated from the region," said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

CAMBODIA WELCOMES CRUISE PASSENGERS

A cruise liner quarantined off a Japanese port has more than 200 people confirmed with the disease. Authorities have said they will allow some elderly people to disembark on Friday.

Passengers on another cruise ship that spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over coronavirus fears started disembarking in Cambodia on Friday.

The MS Westerdam, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, docked in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville on Thursday. It had anchored offshore early in the morning to allow Cambodian officials to board and collect samples from passengers with any signs of ill health or flu-like symptoms.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen greeted the passengers with handshakes and bouquets of roses as they stepped off the ship and boarded a waiting bus.

"My wife and I gave him some chocolates as a show of our appreciation," Lou Poandel, a tourist from New Jersey, told Reuters after he disembarked and met the Cambodian leader.

Australian health officials tested a passenger onboard another cruise ship that docked in Sydney harbour for a"respiratory illness" on Friday, causing passengers to fret about the potential of another shipboard outbreak of the coronavirus.

The health ministry did not specify the nature of the respiratory illness, or specifically rule out the coronavirus.

Separately, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said it had cancelled 18 cruises in Southeast Asia and joined larger rival Carnival Corp in warning that its full-year earnings would be hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Global health authorities are still scrambling to find"patient zero" - a person who carried the disease into a company meeting in Singapore from which it spread to five other countries.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

The rise in China's reported cases on Thursday reflected a decision by authorities there to reclassify a backlog of suspected cases by using patients' chest images, and did not necessarily indicate a wider epidemic, a World Health Organization official said on Thursday.

Economists are assessing the impact of the outbreak on the world's second-largest economy and scaling back their expectations for growth this year.

After the extended Lunar New Year holiday, many migrant workers may still be stuck in their hometowns, far from their factories. Analysts at Nomura estimated only about 21% had returned as of Thursday.

China's economy will grow at its slowest rate since the global financial crisis in the current quarter, according to a Reuters poll of economists who said the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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The ship that was allowed into Cambodia had no confirmed infections. A far cry from the Diamond Princess. Notice the difference?

Another important difference is that Hun Sen is "the world's longest serving prime minister". If that makes it sound like he is a dictator, it's because he's a dictator.

It's no coincidence that he personally greeted people from the ship. The decision to allow it in was made by, about, and for Hun Sen. Want to see a diagram of the Cambodia National Assembly?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Assembly_of_Cambodia#/media/File:Assemblee_cambodge_2018.svg

Guess which colour represents members of Hun Sen's party. Hint: the answer is blue.

And which colours represent members of opposition parties. Correct - a second colour wasn't required.

So as nice as it would be to thank the Cambodian people for opening their hearts to passengers and crew at this difficult time, when others in Asia did not, to do so would be taking the piss. It might cost Cambodia something, but it won't cost Hun Sen a dime. Rather the opposite, in fact.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

B. JayToday 05:26 am JST

Notice the difference? How Cambodia is treating the passengers on this Cruise Ship and the way Japan has handled the paxs on Diamond Princess.

The ship that was allowed into Cambodia had no confirmed infections. A far cry from the Diamond Princess. Notice the difference?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wonder what the world would think of this whole mess if it turns out that this virus was man made? How would China react if this came to light?

They'd deny it. Haven't you heard people, and countries, denying things that have been proven beyond doubt over the last few years?

But there's no reason to think that this is a manmade virus in the sense of something cooked up in a lab. It closely follows the risk, pattern, and transmission route of previous scares that emerged from China. International health bodies have made clear both how such viruses are transmitted from natural reservoirs to humans, and the role in that process played by livestock, specifically pigs and chickens, with pigs in particular able to infect both humans and chickens, which creates the conditions for mutation and cross-infection. Chicken and pork are overwhelmingly the most popular meats in Chinese food, and there is a huge amount of close contact between humans and poultry, even in the urban environment. If you go to a market in China, chances are you're tracking blood and chickensh*t around on your shoes. That's the case in Hong Kong too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGizATqHGYU

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Passengers on another cruise ship that spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over coronavirus fears started disembarking in Cambodia on Friday.

The MS Westerdam, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, docked in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville on Thursday. It had anchored offshore early in the morning to allow Cambodian officials to board and collect samples from passengers with any signs of ill health or flu-like symptoms.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen greeted the passengers with handshakes and bouquets of roses as they stepped off the ship and boarded a waiting bus.

"My wife and I gave him some chocolates as a show of our appreciation," Lou Poandel, a tourist from New Jersey, told Reuters after he disembarked and met the Cambodian leader.

Notice the difference? How Cambodia is treating the passengers on this Cruise Ship and the way Japan has handled the paxs on Diamond Princess.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I wonder what the world would think of this whole mess if it turns out that this virus was man made?

How would China react if this came to light?

China's history of reporting annual flu deaths was never accurate because they simply didn't state the flu as the cause of death if the person died from heart attack while they had the flu where other countries would list cause of death as death from complications due to the flu. Now China can't hide the numbers anymore so Supreme Commie Leader throws misdirection out by firing two top brass directly related to the region and then releases new numbers claiming that they are now able to speed up testing using chest scans thus the sudden one day climb but you can bet those numbers are still WAY HIGHER than that.

I wonder when the next little bit of truth will come out?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Interesting that a self proclaimed 'developing country' would not accept international assistance. I guess China only wants to be seen as 'developing' if they get trade advantages...what a shame since lives are at stake.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The CCP can not lose face by admitting they need external help, they are already under enormous internal pressure due to their mismanagement of the outbreak of Wuhan virus, they fear for their comfy positions!

The massive increase in numbers due to using alternative diagnostic techniques (bear in mind these are only being used in Wuhan not everywhere in China) shows how much larger the outbreak really is than the figures so far given.

Wuhan virus has a lot further to run even if it can be contained in countries outside of China, and that is not at all certain.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"C.D.C. and W.H.O. Offers to Help China Have Been Ignored for Weeks

Privately, Chinese doctors say they need outside expertise. But Beijing, without saying why, has shown no interest so far."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/health/cdc-coronavirus-china.html

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The world's third-largest economy is already bracing for a sharp slowdown in growth and some analysts expect another contraction in the current quarter as the virus outbreak hurts exports, output and consumption through a sharp drop in overseas tourists.

The market is operating on "irrational exuberance" at this point.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

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