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Sun Mar 8, 2020, 07:59 PM

COVID-19 news update for 3/8/2020

Hello again everyone who reads these. After spending a wonderful morning and part of the afternoon listening to music I figured I had better get started on checking out the news from around the world. I'm going to be trying some new newspapers today of which I do not know if they will show a paywall. I invite you to tag along.

The Mainichi (Japan):

Japan begins coronavirus travel curbs for China, S. Korea

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan on Monday adopted tougher border control measures to prevent a surge in new coronavirus infections, with a 14-day voluntary quarantine of all travelers from virus-hit China and South Korea and nearly 3 million visas invalidated.

Japan is scrambling to contain COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus months before the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced a barrage of criticism for his belated response.

Of the roughly 3 million visas invalidated, about 2.8 million are for Chinese and about 17,000 for South Koreans, according to the Foreign Ministry. A visa-waiver program covering short stays by tourists from South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau has also been suspended.

...The travel curbs, effective Monday to the end of March, will likely deal a blow to the Japanese economy as visitors from China and South Korea account for about half of all inbound tourists to Japan and have helped revitalize regional economies.

People entering Japan from the two neighboring countries, including Japanese nationals, will be asked to stay in designated facilities such as hotels for 14 days. Japanese can stay at home.

Abe in dilemma as coronavirus response could cut both ways

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A legal change this week will allow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency to address the new coronavirus outbreak if he deems it necessary.

But as the total number of infections in Japan surpasses 1,000, including about 700 from a quarantined cruise ship, the new power symbolizes a dilemma for Abe: Bolder steps to curb infections raise the chances of the economy slipping into a recession.

Abe, who faced criticism for being too relaxed in his initial response to the outbreak, has recently taken tougher action. Steps include a closure of schools that took many by surprise and most recently restrictions on visitors from China and South Korea that could severely hit the tourism industry.

"We have been causing great trouble to the Japanese people as we are implementing measures to prevent the spread of new coronavirus infections," Abe told a government task force meeting on Saturday.

The Korea Times:

Airlines, travel agencies panic over Japan's entry restrictions

Airlines and travel agencies, already hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, are taking another hit from Japan's recent decision to tighten entry restrictions on people traveling from Korea, company officials said Sunday.

Asiana Airlines, the nation's second-biggest airline, suspended all flights to Japan from Monday to the end of March for the first time since the company launched its Seoul-Tokyo route.

Top flag carrier Korean Air will suspend flights on 16 out of 17 routes to Japan, except for the Incheon-Narita route, from Monday until March 28.

Budget carriers, most of which have been under emergency management following a sharp decline in air travel demand due to the fast spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, have also suspended all or most flights on their routes to Japan.

Jeju Air, the nation's largest low-cost carrier, has decided to operate only two routes from Incheon to Tokyo and Osaka, and suspend others.

COVID-19 hits nursing homes, retirement complexes hard

The health authorities here are taking extra care with nursing homes, retirement complexes and other facilities housing the elderly as the COVID-19 epidemic has hit senior citizens harder than any other age group, officials said Sunday.

Medical experts said while a major cluster of infections linked to the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus is expected to slow in the coming weeks, the emergence of other mass infections at those facilities is posing a special challenge for the government's quarantine efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed 179 new cases as of 9 p.m., Sunday, bringing the nation's total number of infections to 7,313. On Saturday, the KCDC detected 367 additional cases.

So far, 50 people have died from the virus, most of whom were elderly patients with underlying illnesses.

New Straits Times:

North Korea releases 3,600 quarantined over Covid-19

SEOUL: North Korea has released more than 3,600 people quarantined over the Covid-19 coronavirus, reports said on Sunday, as the disease spread to 95 countries with over 100,000 cases worldwide.

Pyongyang has imposed strict restrictions and closed its borders to try to prevent an outbreak – and insists it has not had a single case of Covid-19.

Around 3,650 people quarantined in Kangwon and Chagang provinces were released as of Thursday, North Korea’s state radio reported according to Yonhap news agency.

It follows official KCNA news agency stating on Friday that 221 out of 380 foreigners who were under “strict medical monitoring” had been discharged from isolation.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned last month of “serious consequences” if the virus reaches his country, which has banned tourists and suspended international trains and flights.

Malaysia confirms almost 100 Covid-19 cases

KUALA LUMPUR: Six new cases of Covid-19 were reported today, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 99, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said all the cases were detected and isolated for further treatment and the close contacts of these cases were being identified for investigation and sampling.

All of the new cases reported today comprised close contacts of the cluster linked to the 26th case, he said in a statement today.

He said all the cases were detected during contact tracking activities and they were admitted to the hospital for isolation and further treatment.

The Times of Israel:

Israeli officials divided over quarantine for arrivals from US
Tourism minister: Decision must be made in cooperation with US; reported conflict said to lead to delay for statement on isolation for some travelers from the US

Government officials are reportedly in disagreement over how to proceed with potential quarantine measures for Israelis and tourists travelling from the US to Israel.

On Saturday, the director-general of the Health Ministry, Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, indicated that Israel was about to place restrictions on flights arriving from some parts of the US.

...According to the Ynet news site, there was dispute among various officials over the order.

“There are objections to the Health Ministry’s recommendations,” one official was quoted as saying.

They said that the decision reported “won’t necessarily be the final wording.”

Number of Israeli coronavirus cases jumps by 14, raising total to 39
7 of the new patients returned from European countries, 6 came into contact with sick individuals in Israel; medic among newly diagnosed, though cause of his infection is unknown

Fourteen Israelis were added Sunday evening to the list of those who have contracted the coronavirus, including the first in the country whose source of infection was unknown, bringing the total number of cases to 39.

Seven of the new patients returned from European countries, and six came into contact with sick individuals in Israel.

Police, Health Ministry establish joint task force to enforce quarantine orders
Team formed after growing number of Israelis are caught knowingly violating directives meant to prevent spread of coronavirus

The Israel Police and Health Ministry on Sunday announced the establishment of a joint task force that will enforce quarantine orders placed against some 80,000 Israelis to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision to set up the unit came after the number of citizens ordered into quarantine increased significantly in recent days, police said in a statement.

Since the outbreak of the virus last month, nine cases have been opened against Israelis who knowingly violated the quarantine orders or attempted to disrupt Health Ministry inspectors in carrying out their duties, police said.

The statement did not specify whether the cases included one against a man in central Israel who was filmed giving the middle finger to inspectors who came to his home to make sure he was abiding by the quarantine rules last month.

Al Jazeera:

Saudi locks down Qatif as coronavirus surges in the Gulf
Saudi Arabia's interior ministry says it temporarily halted movement in and out of the oil-producing Qatif region.

Saudi Arabia has imposed a temporary lockdown on its eastern Qatif area, home to a large Shia-Muslim population, to prevent the spread of coronavirus after recording four more cases that raised the total to 11.

The move risks stirring resentment in Qatif, which has been a flashpoint between the Sunni-dominated Saudi government and minority Shia in the country who complain of discrimination and marginalisation, accusations the government denies.

Saudi Arabia will suspend all educational and Quranic activities at mosques starting on Monday to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, state television reported.

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry said on Sunday all the individuals diagnosed with the disease are from Qatif. Saudi authorities have previously said those infected have either been to Iran or interacted with people who visited the Islamic Republic, home to important Shia holy sites.

The restrictions in Qatif could also raise tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran after Riyadh on Thursday denounced Tehran for granting Saudi citizens entry amid the coronavirus outbreak. Saudi Arabia has banned travel to Iran and said legal action will be taken against any Saudi national travelling there.

Kuwait Times:

Compulsory home quarantine for returnees from 7 countries

KUWAIT: The health ministry announced that all persons who have arrived in Kuwait from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Syria must follow preventive health procedures and guidelines, and are obliged to implement compulsory home quarantine for a period of two weeks from the date of departure. The Cabinet earlier banned flights from these countries for a period of one week due to the spread of COVID-19.

In an explanatory statement related to circular number 27 on the temporary suspension of flights from the abovementioned countries, the civil aviation authority said the suspension will end at midnight on March 13, 2020, adding that only Kuwaiti citizens and their first-degree relatives (parents, husbands, wives and children regardless of nationality) will be exempted from the entry ban provided they prove their relationship and undergo the standard medical procedures to be followed.

The civil aviation authority added that domestic helpers will be allowed in only if they arrive with their sponsors on the same flights. In addition, the statement noted that citizens of the abovementioned countries will only be allowed into Kuwait if they spend 14 days in a non-infected third country. It added that passengers wishing to travel to any of the seven countries can do so via third country airports.

Fear, panic is real as number of coronavirus cases rises

KUWAIT: Fear, panic and discrimination is rampant around the world as the number of deaths and cases of COVID-19 rises every day. Several doctors and health professionals have advised the public that it is not necessary to wear masks while walking on the streets, on the bus or at restaurants. Yet people are wearing them anyway just in case.

“I don’t like to appear as if I am the only one not wearing it, so if I am using public transportation, I wear a mask, not because I am afraid of the virus, but because I am afraid of what people might think when I am not wearing it,” a regular bus passenger told Kuwait Times yesterday. “I don’t want to wear a mask because I heard the virus is not airborne, but people are wearing it, and I don’t want to be different from them. So I bought the facemask even though it was expensive,” she added.

Facemask prices have soared, and most pharmacies are not selling them as they have run out of stocks, along with those of sanitizers and rubbing alcohol. “I wanted to buy a facemask, sanitizer and alcohol, but many pharmacies all over Kuwait are no longer selling them,” a woman said. “So I was happy when I approached a salesperson at a large grocery store in Salmiya and asked for a sanitizer. Initially they told me stocks were over, but when I pressed and said I have a baby to protect, the salesperson pitied me and gave me two bottles. They said they have been keeping it in storage because when they put them on the shelf, they are all gone within a few minutes,” she told Kuwait Times.

Some people said panic was created by the government too, when it ordered workers at all restaurants and cafes to wear facemasks and gloves. “The problem with this order is not the use of a facemask or gloves – the problem is when they use them but not follow the right instruction,” a customer said. “What if the facemask is not changed for hours? What if they touch their mask and touch my food? What if they touch my food without cleaning their hands, or if the gloves are not changed often?” she asked.


Coronavirus and climate change: A tale of two crises
Coronavirus has cut emissions faster than years of climate negotiations. Does the outbreak reveal what life might be like if we were to act seriously on climate change? Or what it might be like if we don't?

China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas polluter, has no plans to cut its emissions anytime soon. Under its Paris Agreement pledges, Beijing has promised to hit peak emissions by 2030. So for the next decade, they're only going to go up.

Yet suddenly, this colossal, coal-powered economy has slashed emissions by 25%, according to numbers crunched by Lauri Myllyvirta at the University of Helsinki's Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Not because of the climate crisis, but the COVID-19 public health emergency.

"For something like this to happen virtually overnight is very much unprecedented," Myllyvirta told DW.

Wuhan, the 11 million-strong Hubei province city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak has been on lockdown since late January. With businesses and factories in the province shuttered, and hundreds of millions of people across the country rendered immobile by sweeping travel restrictions, the atmosphere above China in NASA satellite images appears virtually clean of nitrous oxide emissions.



Coronavirus: Italy death toll soars amid travel ban

...The latest figures mean Italy now has the highest number of confirmed infections outside China, where the outbreak originated in December. It has overtaken South Korea, where the total number of cases is 7,313.

Among the latest people to test positive in Italy is the army's chief of staff. Salvatore Farina said he felt well and was self-isolating.

The strict new quarantine measures affect a quarter of the Italian population and centre on the rich northern part of the country that powers its economy.

The health system is under immense strain in Lombardy, a northern region of 10 million people, where people are being treated in hospital corridors.

"We want to guarantee the health of our citizens. We understand that these measures will impose sacrifices, sometimes small and sometimes very big," Prime Minister Conte said as he announced the measures in the middle of Saturday night.


Coronavirus: Man in his 60s becomes third UK death

A man in his 60s has become the third person in the UK to die after testing positive for coronavirus.

The man, who had "significant" underlying health problems, died at North Manchester General Hospital, NHS England said.

He had recently returned from Italy and was being treated at the hospital's specialist infectious diseases unit.

It comes after UK cases rose to 278 on Sunday, up from 209 on Saturday - the biggest rise yet.


Canada to repatriate citizens on coronavirus-hit cruise ship in California

Canada has secured a plane in its effort to repatriate Canadians on board the coronavirus-hit Grand Princess cruise ship which is currently quarantined off the coast of California, Global Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

"The plane will bring passengers from San Francisco to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, after which they will be assessed and undergo a 14-day quarantine," the statement read.

"Given our shared border, Canada recognizes the importance of working together with the United States to limit the spread of COVID-19 within North America and abroad."

The Grand Princess cruise ship — where 19 crew members and two passengers have tested positive for the virus — was headed to the port of Oakland, Calif., after idling off San Francisco for days. There is evidence the ship was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of almost 20 cases during an earlier voyage.
(Video of California Air National Guard dropping off test kits to the ship at the link)

Oil prices take biggest plunge in decades amid coronavirus uncertainty, price war fears

...OPEC and key ally Russia failed to agree Friday on a cut to oil production that would have contained the plunge in the price of crude caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak's massive disruption to world business. On Saturday, Saudi Arabia's state oil giant Aramco slashed export prices.

"We're seeing the outcome of a one-two punch in terms of a demand shock from the coronavirus … and on top of that this weekend's news of a price war started after the breakdown of OPEC plus Russia arrangements," said Blake Shaffer, an assistant professor of economics and public policy at University of Calgary.

Shaffer said the demand-side drop was expected but the more recent development of a price war is a supply-side issue that's hammering the market.

"This is a really big move. I was an energy trader for 15 years. I don't have all the daily moves in my head, but this would definitely be one of the biggest ones I've seen," he said.

Ontario confirms new case of COVID-19, bringing total to 29

Ontario's health ministry has confirmed another case of COVID-19 in Toronto, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 29.

A woman in her 40s tested positive after she returned from Colorado on March 2, the ministry said in a news release on Sunday.

The woman went to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's emergency department, was tested there and was sent home that day. She remains in self-isolation, the ministry said.

Of the 29 confirmed cases in Ontario, four have been resolved, the ministry added.

'You can't stop living': Toronto doctor warns against becoming 'paralyzed' with fear over COVID-19

A Toronto-based infectious disease expert says people should stay calm instead of panicking in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

A March 5 Facebook post by Dr. Abdu Sharkawy — in which he said he is not scared of COVID-19 but concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil — has been shared more than one million times.

"I think it comes down to paying attention to sources that I think people can trust without really being paralyzed and enraptured with fear," Sharkawy told CBC News on Sunday.

"We have to maintain some degree of functionality in our everyday life. You can't stop living, you can't stop using public transit, you can't stop travelling entirely, because the global economy and our everyday lives depend on being able to maintain those things at least at some level."

Sharkawy says for the more than 20 years he's spent working as a doctor in hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa, there is little he's not been exposed to.

That's all I'm doing today. Whew! There's a lot of news out there on this virus! I personally like that last article from the CBC of the doctor saying not to panic. Get out there and find some way to be helpful. WASH YOUR HANDS often and carry sanitizer with you. That's some good upbeat activism. Well, I got charts to update and need to eat something. Until next time.

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Reply COVID-19 news update for 3/8/2020 (Original post)
icymist Mar 8 OP
Crazyleftie Mar 8 #1
2naSalit Mar 8 #2
CanonRay Mar 8 #3
Guilded Lilly Mar 8 #4
Laffy Kat Mar 8 #5
littlemissmartypants Mar 9 #6

Response to icymist (Original post)

Sun Mar 8, 2020, 08:05 PM

1. please continue these updates......

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Response to icymist (Original post)

Sun Mar 8, 2020, 08:08 PM

2. Thank you for putting that together.

That's quite a lot of info to gather.

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Response to icymist (Original post)

Sun Mar 8, 2020, 08:16 PM

3. Thank you for doing this!

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Response to icymist (Original post)

Sun Mar 8, 2020, 08:17 PM

4. Thank-you. Much appreciated.

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Response to icymist (Original post)

Sun Mar 8, 2020, 08:34 PM

5. Thanks for this.

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Response to icymist (Original post)

Mon Mar 9, 2020, 02:14 AM

6. Thank you, icymist. ❤ nt

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