Statistical error led to more than 100 deaths being counted twice, national health commission says
A Channel 4 employee was taken to hospital to be tested for coronavirus on Thursday after being met at the channel’s London headquarters by health officials in protective clothing, it has emerged.
The person is understood to have been on holiday recently in China in the last month and had some concerns about feeling unwell. They are not a journalist and had not been to Wuhan, the Chinese region at the centre of the outbreak.
“On Thursday a member of staff at Channel 4 who had travelled to Asia within the last month felt unwell.”
“As a precautionary measure they decided to seek medical advice and, in line with the latest public health advice regarding the Coronavirus, they were taken to hospital for a precautionary test. We have informed our staff of this and continue to follow all the latest public health guidance.”
Singapore has reported nine new coronavirus cases – its biggest daily increase, according to the Straits Times. The new cases take Singapore’s virus tally to 67.
Six of the new cases are linked to the Grace Assembly of God church which is now the biggest cluster of cases in Singapore with 13 in total.
Coronavirus: 9 new cases confirmed in Singapore, 6 of these linked to Grace Assembly church which has become the biggest cluster https://t.co/eybB3Xrpwp
Here’s a picture of last week’s Bus Summit at the QEII Centre which was attended by someone who has since diagnosed been with coronavirus.
One of the people diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK attended a central London conference with more than 200 delegates, PA reports.
The person, who has not been named, attended the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster on 6 February.
“One of our main priorities has been to identify any people who we think have been in close contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19 to provide public health advice, as they may be at slightly increased risk of catching the virus.
“While the degree of contact conference delegates may have had with the case is unlikely to have been significant, we have taken a precautionary approach and informed them of the situation.”
We’ve updated our coronavirus (or should that now be covid-19?) Q&A:
Authorities in Taiwan have put out an appeal to locate three people who travelled from Hong Kong to Taipei on February 8 and who went missing during home quarantine.
Xinqi Su, an AFP correspondent in Hong Kong, has tweeted that authorities in the Taiwanese capital has publicised information about the individuals and asked the public to help search for them.
Three people travelled from Hong Kong to Taipei on Feb 8 went missing during home quarantine. Taipei government has publicised their basic info and asked the public to help search for them. pic.twitter.com/8zrA65XxPp
A senior White House official has called on Beijing to be more transparent over its handling of the outbreak amid moves by Chinese authorities to expand ‘wartime’ measures to limit its spread.
Here’s footage of Larry Kudlow, the National Economic Council director, expressing US “disappointment” in the response of China to the coronavirus outbreak.
Japan has vowed to step up testing and efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus after suffering its first death and finding new cases, including a doctor and at least one taxi driver, in different parts of the country.
The biggest cluster of coronavirus infections outside China is linked to a cruise liner quarantined in a Japanese port, with 218 people from the ship confirmed as infected and taken off to hospital.
Investors have reassessing the potential economic impact of the virus, it appears from movement in gold trading.
Gold dropped off a more than one-week high on Friday as hopes for global measures to counter the coronavirus outbreak increased appetite for equities, according to Reuters.
Florists across Hong Kong say their business is down as much as 50 percent compared with last year, but masks and alcohol sanitisers have emerged as new favourite Valentine gifts for lovers, reports Verna Yu in Hong Kong for the Guardian.
A survey conducted by dating agency HK Romance on 572 men and women shows that masks and alcohol sanitisers are the most wished for Valentine gifts for women this year, with 30 percent wanting those, compared with 18 percent wanting flowers, 14 percent wanting jewelry or watches and 9 percent for flights and hotel stays.
Chinese health officials have been talking about the impact of the outbreak on frontline health workers, 1,716 of whom have been infected.
Six had died as of Tuesday, with the number of infected staff rising, according to the Chinese health commission vice minister, Zeng Yixin,
Concern about the impact on Asian financial hubs has been heightened by the news that HSBC and Royal Dutch Shell have been sending staff home in Hong Kong and Singapore after contact with people infected by the coronavirus.
HSBC, which employs 21,000 people in Hong Kong, said on Friday that one of its employees has been placed in government quarantine after “close contact” with relatives diagnosed with the coronavirus.
A senior White House official has called on Beijing to be more transparent over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak as Chinese authorities expanded “wartime” measures to limit its spread, reports Lily Kuo is the Guardian’s Beijing bureau chief
Casualties from coronavirus reached nearly 1,400, with more than 5,000 new cases reported on Friday, dampening optimism that the virus will soon be contained.
The first group of French nationals repatriated from China due to the coronavirus outbreak returned to the outside world today after two weeks in quarantine, Reuters reports.
None of the 181 involved – who had been flown home from Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic – tested positive for the virus, local health officials said.
China’s public broadcasting network, CCTV, has been showing images of what it reports is “the third batch” of 35 patients transferred to the Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan, one of two new hospitals built over the course of a few weeks as the official face of the country’s struggle against coronavirus.
The third batch of 35 patients were transferred to the Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province on Feb. 12. #CombatCoronavirus pic.twitter.com/xHorMynniv
Reuters reports that 1,716 health workers have been infected by the coronavirus and six of them have died, as of Tuesday.
China National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin said on Friday that, at a press conference about protecting medical workers, said the number of infected medical staff is increasing.
Lily Kuo has the latest from China, where wartime measures are being expanded to more cities, as a US official has questioned whether Beijing is being transparent over the outbreak. Read the full story here:
So far today:
An explanation here for shifting numbers.
China’s National Health Commission has said it removed 108 deaths from its national total because it made a statistical error, according to Agence France-Presse.
Reports here of lockdowns and quarantine measures that have begun to start in Shanghai.
I have been put under Home quarantine for 14 days after returning to Shanghai. For my neighbours, only 1 person per household is allowed out once a day. Some renters are being denied access to their homes. This is a city increasingly in lockdown. #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/UMEmbTa8PN
In broader medical news, generic drugmakers from India may face shortages and price hikes due to the knock-on effect of the Covid-19 outbreak, analysts say.
Indian companies procure almost 70% of their active pharmaceutical ingredients from China, Reuters report.
A person has been tested for the new coronavirus on a cruise ship moored in Sydney and does not have the virus, NSW Health have confirmed.
Earlier this morning, media reports in other outlets incorrectly said a man had a confirmed case on board the Norwegian Jewel, which had sailed from New Zealand.
Ketchup and cola factories are partially closing across China, as confirmed by the Kraft Heinz company and PepsiCo.
Pepsi has closed one of its six Chinese factories ever since the Chinese New Year, but it is expected to open again soon, Bloomberg reports.
Some odd scenes in Sihanoukville in Cambodia today, as 1,455 passengers and 802 crew were finally allowed to disembark from the Westerdam cruise ship.
The ship had been refused port by five countries over Covid-19 fears, but tests by Cambodian doctors said no passengers had the new virus.
1/ The death of Dr. Li Wen-Liang has caused great grief for the public. He was not known as a doctor that died of Coronavirus, but as a public health whistleblower. Dr. Li was not the only whistleblower I know of, & he will not be the last one, unless China became a democracy. pic.twitter.com/JkLZQiVSCG
And here’s some much needed explanation on why the figures and death toll have changed so rapidly recently.
The big spike in confirmed cases and deaths yesterday was the result of the Chinese government changing the way it classifies new cases.
Japan has vowed to step up testing and containment of Covid-19 after the country recorded its first death, Reuters report.
On Thursday, Japan’s health ministry confirmed a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture, just to the west of Tokyo, had died.
The latest national government figures are in – there have been a total of 1,380 deaths in mainland China since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
This comes after 116 new deaths were recorded just in the Hubei province. That is a drop in the rate of new deaths and new cases, compared to yesterday.
And more on cruises, Royal Caribbean – whose ships have not yet been hit by either a Covid-19 case or Covid-19 scare – is still cancelling 18 of its cruises.
As reported by Bloomberg News, this will reduce its earnings by 65 US cents a share this year.
Today so far:
An elderly Australian man, from Perth, has reportedly tested positive for the new coronavirus while on another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, which has multiple confirmed cases – unlike the Westerdam and the Norwegian Jewel.
His daughter told ABC radio that her father, Val, had tested positive and would be taken to hospital in Japan.
Passengers from the Westerdam – the cruise ship denied entry to five countries – have begun disembarking in Cambodia after tests for coronavirus came back negative.
China’s incoming chicken shipments have also been disrupted, according to Reuters
This is due to consumption slowing down due to so many cities under lock down. As a result, freezer space is running out in China’s ports.
Speaking of, researchers from East Anglia University in the UK say that misinformation and conspiracy theories about on coronavirus could cost lives – because people stop following actual health advice.
Further statement from Norwegian Cruise Line:
“During Norwegian Jewel’s sailing from Auckland to Sydney, a few guests on board experienced a stomach-related illness. To mitigate any impact of this rare occurrence, we implemented stringent sanitation procedures.
The official NSW Health statement is in, on the conflicting reports around a cruse ship docked in Sydney, the Norwegian Jewel.
“None [of the passengers] had been in China in the previous 14 days and there was no outbreak of any disease on board,” NSW Health said. “There were 3 routine medical transfers, none related to respiratory illness.”
In other cruise ship news, the Westerdam – which has been turned away from five different countries over coronavirus fears – has said that 20 of its passengers have been tested and do not have the new virus.
The ship has always maintained that it has no sick passengers, but was it was refused entry by multiple countries because it had been in Hong Kong two weeks ago. It was eventually allowed to dock in Cambodia.
A 78-year old, former Royal Australian Air Force engineer is the latest Australian to be confirmed as still stranded in the Wuhan, as reported exclusively by myself and my colleague Ben Doherty.
This comes after we revealed that an 18-month old toddler, also an Australian citizen, was still in the Hubei province, under lockdown, and had not been given a place on one of the Australian evacuation flights.
The US state department has issued a statement saying it is “deeply concerned” about North Korea’s vulnerability to the new coronavirus.
“The US is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the North Korean people to a coronavirus outbreak…The US is ready and prepared to expeditiously facilitate the approval of assistance from these organisations”.
The U.S. stands ready and is prepared to expeditiously facilitate the approval of assistance from U.S. and international aid organizations to counter and contain the spread of #coronavirus in response to concerns about the vulnerability of the people of North Korea. pic.twitter.com/fm1MA1CcCx
If you’re struggling to keep up with the news on coronavirus, the fabulous team at Full Story (Guardian Australia’s news podcast) has made a podcast that traces the outbreak and reviews the public health response, both in China and Australia.
You can listen here:
That latest figures out of China show that there has been a drop in the number of new deaths and new infections, but the toll does continue to rise.
There have been 116 new deaths, and 4,823 new cases in the Hubei province, where the virus first emerged. That is a total of 51,986 cases in the province, according to Reuters.
The operators of a Norwegian cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbour say there’s “no truth” to reports of a potential coronavirus case amongst its passengers.
Norwegian Cruise Line, operators of the Norwegian Jewel, said the vessel remained in operation and all the passengers were healthy.
A passenger on board a cruise ship that docked in Sydney harbour Friday morning has reportedly been taken for testing for a possible case of novel coronavirus.
The Singaporean national fell ill with a respiratory illness and was taken from the Norwegian Jewel shortly after it docked at the international passenger terminal at Circular Quay at 6am this morning.
This is Naaman Zhou bringing you the latest coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. These are the top developments: