In Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s outbreak, all traffic lights in urban areas were turned red at 10:00, ceasing traffic for three minutes.
The Chinese government said the event was a chance to pay respects to “martyrs”, a reference to the 14 medical workers who died battling the virus.
They include Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan who died of Covid-19 after being reprimanded by the authorities for attempting to warn others about the disease.
Wearing white flowers pinned to their chest, China’s President Xi Jinping and other government officials paid silent tribute in Beijing.
The commemorations coincide with the annual Qingming festival, when millions of Chinese families pay respects to their ancestors.
China first informed the WHO about cases of pneumonia with unknown causes on December 31, 2019.
By January 18, 2020, the confirmed number of cases had risen to around 60 – but experts estimated the real figure was closer to 1,700.
Just two days later, as millions of people prepared to travel for the lunar new year, the number of cases more than tripled to more than 200 and the virus was detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
From that point, the virus began to spread rapidly in Asia and then Europe, eventually reaching every corner of the globe.
However, in the past few weeks, China has started to ease travel and social-distancing restrictions, believing it has brought the health emergency under control.
Last week, Wuhan partially re-opened after more than two months of isolation.
On April 4, China reported 19 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, down from 31 a day earlier. China’s health commission said 18 of those cases involved travelers arriving from abroad.
As it battles to control cases coming from abroad, China temporarily banned all foreign visitors, even if they have visas or residence permits.
As the coronavirus crisis in China abates, the rest of the world remains firmly in the grip of the disease.
As it battles to control cases coming from abroad, China has announced a
temporary ban on all foreign visitors, even if they have visas or residence
permits. It is also limiting Chinese and foreign airlines to one flight per
week, and flights must not be more than 75% full.
The new coronavirus is thought to
have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan that “conducted illegal
transactions of wild animals”.
Wuhan’s 11 million residents have
been shut off from the rest of the world since the middle of January, with
roadblocks around the outskirts and drastic restrictions on daily life.
However, roads reopened to incoming traffic late on March 27, according to
State media said the subway was open from March 28 and trains would be able
to arrive at the city’s 17 railway stations.
All arrivals in Wuhan have to show a green code on a mobile app to prove
that they are healthy.
Officials say restrictions on people leaving Wuhan will be lifted on April 8,
when domestic flights are also expected to restart.
The new coronavirus emerged in China in December 2019 and more than 3,300
people there have died from the infection – but both Italy and Spain now have
higher death tolls.
It is now battling to control a wave of imported cases as infections soar
This so-called “second wave” of imported infections is also
affecting countries like South Korea and Singapore, which had been successful
in stopping the spread of disease in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, the virus continues to
spread rapidly in other countries around the world.
Nearly 600,000 infections have been confirmed globally and almost 28,000 deaths, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University.
There are now almost 90,000 cases worldwide in about 70 countries, although
the vast majority – just under 90% – remain in China, and most of those are in
Hubei province where the virus originated late last year.
Of the nearly 8,800 cases outside China, 81% are in four countries – Iran,
South Korea, Italy and Japan.
One of the countries worst affected outside China – Italy – said on March 2
that the death toll there had risen by 18 to 52. There are 1,835 confirmed
cases, most of them in the Lombardy and Veneto areas of the north. Nearly 150
people are said to have recovered.
However, Italy is seeing a slowdown in new cases. On March 2, the authorities said there were 258 new cases of the virus – a 16% increase on the previous day – after new cases spiked by 50% on March 1.
According to the WHO, there was also no major shift in the coronavirus’s
pattern of mortality or severity.
On February 12, Hubei recorded 242 deaths, the deadliest day of the
There was also a huge increase in cases, with 14,840 people diagnosed but
most of this was down to Hubei using a broader definition to diagnose people,
said Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program.
He said: “This does not represent
a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak.”
Outside China there had been two deaths and 447 cases in 24 countries, he
On February 13, Japan announced its first coronavirus death – a woman in her
80s who lived in Kanagawa, south-west of Tokyo.
The woman’s diagnosis was confirmed after her death and she had no obvious
link to China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, Japanese media
The Diamond Princess cruise ship is in quarantine in Yokohama. Not all the
3,700 people on board have been tested yet.
People with the virus are taken to hospitals on land to be treated, while
those on board are largely confined to their cabins.
On February 13, Japan said it would
allow those aged 80 or over who have tested negative for the coronavirus to
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said
they could be allowed off the ship as early as February 14 but would have to
stay in accommodation provided by the government, the Japan Times reported.
Meanwhile another cruise ship – the
MS Westerdam – carrying more than 2,000 people docked in Cambodia after being
turned away by ports in Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand
despite having no sick patients on board.
Until February 13 increases, the number of people with the virus in Hubei
The new cases and deaths in the province have pushed the national death toll
above 1,350 with almost 60,000 infections in total.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said there had been
“surprise” in the US at the new cases.
He said: “We’re a little
disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese, these numbers
are jumping around.”
The Trump administration was also disappointed that China had not accepted a
US offer to send experts to help China respond to the outbreak, Larry Kudlow
China sacked two top officials in Hubei province hours after the new figures
Only Hubei province – which accounts for more than 80% of overall Chinese infections – is using the new definition to diagnose new cases.
The new virus discovered in China, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to
be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in
Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses, but only six (the new one would
make it seven) are known to infect people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people to avoid
“unprotected” contact with live animals, thoroughly cook meat and
eggs, and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath
and breathing difficulties.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging
from the common cold to more severe disease. It’s not yet clear how bad this
new coronavirus is.
If a patient has recovered from the infection, they should not pose a
significant risk to others and can be sent home from hospital provided they are
The first human cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in
There have not been any other suspected human cases reported prior to this.
Given the type of virus, the incubation period (how long it takes for
symptoms to appear after catching the infection) is days, rather than weeks.
It is not yet known how or when the virus became infectious to people.
Experts believe the first cases were transmitted by an animal.
At the moment, there is no vaccine that can protect people against this type
of coronavirus, but researchers are looking to develop one.
It is a new strain that hasn’t been seen in humans before, which means
doctors still have lots to learn about it.
Based on currently available information, the WHO has not recommended any
restrictions on travel or trade.
You should re-check the latest travel advice before you depart.
Extra airport checks such as temperature scans have been put in place to screen
some travelers in some countries/states.
Airports in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo have been screening air
passengers from Wuhan and US authorities last week announced similar measures
at three major airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
It is not yet known how the virus
was transmitted. Other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, came from cats and
Experts are working to find the
Standard recommendations to prevent
infection apply. These include:
regular hand washing
covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
thoroughly cooking meat and eggs
Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
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