China admits ‘shortcomings’ as coronavirus death toll hits 425

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The death toll in China from the deadly coronavirus outbreak that originated in the central city of Wuhan, rose to at least 425 on Monday, as China admitted “shortcomings and difficulties” in its response to the outbreak.

The National Health Commission said there were 64 new fatalities on Monday – the biggest daily increase since the virus was first detected in Wuhan late last year. The city, and the surrounding province of Hubei, which have been effectively sealed off from the rest of the country for more than a week.

There are now 20,438 people confirmed to have the infection.

Other countries have rushed to evacuate their citizens from Hubei province and its capital city, Wuhan, while many have also imposed extraordinary travel restrictions on travellers to and from China.

About 150 cases have been reported in two dozen other countries, with the United States reporting the second case of human-to-human transmission on Monday.

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, February 4

China says US should not overreact on coronavirus outbreak

China’s foreign ministry reiterated on Tuesday the United States should refrain from overreacting over the coronavirus outbreak and called on Washington to work with Beijing and the international community to deal with the epidemic.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, in a statement issued by the ministry, also said Beijing notes the repeated offer from the US to China for assistance in fighting the outbreak. Beijing hopes that Washington will provide the offered aid soon, she said.

Japan quarantines cruise ship in Yokohama

Japan has quarantined a cruise ship with 3,500 people on board, after a passenger who got off the liner in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus.

Television footage showed images of several quarantine officers entering the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on Monday evening to check the health of all 2,500 passengers and 1,000 crew.

An 80-year-old passenger who disembarked on January 25 in Hong Kong tested positive for the deadly virus.

Australian Wuhan evacuees arrive on Christmas Island – media

A plane-load of Australians evacuated from Wuhan has arrived in the Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island, where they will be quarantined for two weeks to prevent the spread of the virus, local media reported on Tuesday.

The plane carrying 243 passengers, 14 crew, four pilots and officials from the Department of Health first landed at a military airbase about 1,200 kilometres (746 miles) north of Perth, before being transferred on two smaller planes to Christmas Island, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

The first of the chartered flights landed on Christmas Island at 9:01pm (14:01 GMT) on Monday, ABC added. Officials were not immediately available to confirm the arrival of the second charter flight.

Russia postpones annual investment forum over coronavirus fears

Russia is postponing an annual investment forum in the Black Sea city of Sochi that had been scheduled to take place next week because of concerns about the coronavirus concerns, a government order said.

The Russian Investment Forum, which is attended by a string of high-ranking officials and foreign investors, had been set to take place from February 12-14. The government order did not say when it would now be held.

United Airlines suspending US-bound mainland China flights a day earlier
United Airlines said on Monday it will bring forward its temporary suspension of US-bound flights from mainland China by one day to Tuesday.

The airline, which is the last US airline still operating China flights said on Friday it planned to fly its last flight from China on Wednesday because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Delta Air Lines suspended flights over the weekend, while American Airlines ended its flights from mainland China on Friday. United said Monday it still plans to resume flights to and from China on March 28.

World Bank calls for global effort against virus

The World Bank called on Monday for countries to step up programmes to fight the new coronavirus outbreak and said it was considering mobilising its own resources against the disease.

“We are calling on all countries to strengthen their health surveillance and response systems, which is essential to contain the spread of this and any future outbreaks,” the institution said in a statement.

It added that it was reviewing financial and technical resources that could be mobilised quickly to support affected countries and ways to accelerate the international response.

Source: aljazeera.com

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