Coronavirus Live Updates (Friday): Worldwide Cases Surpass 100,000 as Iran Adds More Than 1,000
Friday, March 6, 11.59 p.m.
There are now more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University. The American institution’s dashboard reported a total of 101,598 cases and 3,460 death around the world as of Friday morning.
Egypt detected 12 new cases on a Nile cruise ship, according to a joint statement by the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO), Egypt state-run Ahram Online reported.
Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the infections were found among Egyptian ship workers after authorities received information from the WHO that a Taiwanese-American tourist who had been on a cruise later tested positive. The total number of cases in Egypt is now 15.
The number of cases in Belgium more than doubled in 24 hours to 109 from 50, CNN reported.
Belgian authorities said they expect the numbers to continue climbing. Most of the patients recently traveled in Italy, but there have also been transmissions within the country, the authorities said.
Iran’s health ministry said Friday that 1,234 new cases were identified over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day increase, bringing the total to 4,747. Fatalities from the virus climbed to 124. The dead include a newly elected female parliament member, Fatemeh Rahbar, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.
Bhutan will bar arriving tourists for two weeks after confirming its first case of the coronavirus, a tourist who spent several weeks in neighboring India, Reuters reported.
A 79-year-old American who arrived by air from India March 2 tested positive for the virus.
Imported Cases in China
As the epidemic hammers Iran, China has found at least 20 cases (link in Chinese) of infected travelers returning from Iran. They include 11 in northwestern Gansu province who are Chinese citizens evacuated on commercial flights from Iran. A total of 311 passengers arriving from Iran at the provincial capital of Lanzhou have been quarantined, local health officials said.
Seventeen new cases imported from abroad were confirmed Friday in Gansu, according to health authorities, but it’s currently not clear whether they all came from Iran.
Compiled by Denise Jia
Friday, March 6, 7 p.m.
• Covid-19 vaccines may enter clinical trials or even emergency usage as early as April(link in Chinese) according to Zheng Zhongwei, head of the National Health Commission’s research and development center.
“Right now, avenues of technical development are all advancing as anticipated,” he said at a Friday State Council press conference, adding that eight organizations were currently working on nine projects.
• Of the more than 3,000 medical professionals infected (link in Chinese) in Hubei province, 40% contracted the virus in a hospital setting, while the rest were infected via community transmission, and most were not infectious disease specialists, State Council Vice-Secretary Ding Xiangyang said at a Friday press conference in Wuhan, the province’s capital.
“If we want to discuss the reason, I think it’s because in the early days of the epidemic, everyone’s disease prevention measures and understanding of the virus were inadequate,” he said.
• Just what does the coronavirus look like? A team of Chinese researchers has used a technique called cryogenic electron microscopy to observe the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with images showing a round pathogen radiating numerous spikes.
The Covid-19 virus observed under cryogenic electron microscopy. Photo: The Third People’s Hospital of Shenzhen
“We observed that the virion particles are roughly spherical or moderately pleiomorphic,” the researchers wrote in a preprint posted on bioRxiv. “Spikes have nail-like shape towards outside with a long body embedded in the envelope.”
• The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee announced completion of all new permanent venues on Friday for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The announcement comes amid growing concerns that the games may be cancelled due to the growing outbreak in Japan, a prospect officials have denied.
As of Friday evening, Japan had reported 361 cases and six deaths, excluding the Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored in Yokohama.
• After donating health equipment including masks and protective garments to China in the early days of the coronavirus epidemic, Japan is facing shortages of its own amid a growing Covid-19 outbreak.
One hospital in Tokyo recommended last week that doctors and nurses use only one surgical mask per day due to shortages, adding that it only had enough to last about a month, Bloomberg reported Friday.
The report added that the shortage was being felt across the country and that some medical facilities were considering temporary shutdowns to prevent cross-contamination.
However, 1 million facial masks donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation arrived in Tokyo this week, China Daily reported.
• Japan’s decision to require quarantines for all who arrive from South Korea, which has the largest number of confirmed infections outside of China, has sparked a diplomatic row (link in Korean), with the South Korean foreign ministry saying it expressed “deep regret” at the “one-sided” move.
The Korean foreign ministry said in a statement that the Korean government is making efforts to block the spread of Covid-19, has excellent screening ability and transparent, effective virus controls, and that it is inappropriate for Japan to take such measures unilaterally.
The statement urged the Japanese government to withdraw the measures, adding that Japan did not consult South Korea before making such a move, and that it was “unfriendly and unscientific.”
The statement concluded that if Japan does not withdraw its measures, Korea will have to come up with reciprocal countermeasures.
• At least 225 cases have been reported in the U.S. including 12 deaths as of Friday, NBC News reported.
• Princess Cruises, which now has two ships under quarantine, said early Friday morning that while there were no confirmed cases of Covid-19 onboard the Grand Princess, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified groups of guests and crew to be tested.
The Grand Princess, which was en route from San Francisco to Hawaii, is the second vessel operated by Princess Cruises to potentially carry passengers infected with the novel coronavirus. Around 700 people aboard the Diamond Princess, which has been quarantined off the coast of Japan, have been confirmed infected with the virus.
Those onboard the Grand Princess being tested include individuals who sailed the previous Mexico voyage and remained onboard, as well as guests and crew who are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, the company said. Princess Cruises said that 3,533 people are on board the Grand Princess, including 2,422 guests and 1,111 crew of 54 nationalities.
Test samples have been delivered to the California Department of Public Health for processing and results are expected by Friday local time.
Compiled by Dave Yin
As of the end of Thursday, China confirmed 145 new cases, representing a second consecutive day of growth in new infections, bringing the country’s total to 80,710, according to data (link in Chinese) from the National Health Commission.
China also reported 30 additional deaths, of which 29 were in Central China’s Hubei province and one in South China’s Hainan province, for a total of 3,045. Its suspected cases totaled 482, while recoveries stand at 53,793.
Hong Kong’s figures were stable at 104 cases and two deaths, while recoveries grew to 46. Macao was unchanged at 10 cases and nine recoveries, while Taiwan reported two new infections for a total of 44 cases, 12 recoveries and one death.
China’s total also included 16 new cases of infections imported from beyond its borders for a total 36. New imported cases included 11 in the northwestern province of Gansu, four in Beijing and one in Shanghai.
Around the world
• There were more than 98,000 confirmed cases worldwide as of Thursday morning Beijing time, including nearly 3,400 deaths.
• 82 countries aside from China reported a total of 17,587 infections and 337 deaths. South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan were the worst-hit countries, followed by Germany, France, Spain, the U.S. and Singapore.
• Gibraltar, the British overseas territory off Spain’s southern coast, has reported its first case of Covid-19.
• Passengers aboard another cruise ship, the Grand Princess, are being tested for possible Covid-19 infections while being kept off the coast of California.
The ship, the second vessel operated by Princess Cruises to be potentially hit by a Covid-19 outbreak, left San Francisco Feb. 21 and was bound for Hawaii, the Washington Post reported.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference that 21 people — 11 passengers and 10 crew members — were symptomatic. Individuals who sailed on the ship’s previous voyage to Mexico have tested positive, according to the Washington Post.
Compiled by Dave Yin
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