Offices and stores in China have reopened since the extended Lunar New Year break but many people have decided to stay home.
What We Know:
- Health officials are watching over workers closely to see if they are eligible to go back to work and resume everyday activities. According to the National Health Commission, another 108 deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours.
- The deaths have increased to 1,016. Newly confirmed cases fell from 3,062 to 2,478 which brought the total to 42,638. Some of these cases have been cured and released from the hospital.
- Authorities have confirmed that one of the hundreds of people has evacuated from China to the US military bases. This is dimming any hope for those who are thinking any disease-control measures are working.
- The UK has declared the virus a “serious and imminent threat to public health” and advised that they will detain anyone that is infected. Five Britains, which included a 9-year-old boy, contracted the virus in the French Alpine ski town of Contamines-Montjoie after staying in the same chalet as the British man. The head of France’s national health agency, Jerome Salomon, said 61 people including the boy’s schoolmates were tested and proved negative for the virus.
- The director-general of the World Health Organization said the agency is unable to predict the future of the outbreak but they are trying to contain it. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “in recent days, we have seen some concerning instances of onward transmission from people with no travel history to China, like the cases reported in France yesterday and the UK today…The detection of the small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire, but for now, it’s only a spark.”
- In Beijing, there were a few signs that the capital may have been infected because of their large amount of traffic. Tourist attractions such as the Forbidden City remained closed, same with schools and jobs. Many people are working from home to avoid crowds.
- Iris Ke works for an advertising company and she said she plans to return to work next week. “We just need to have a little more sense of self-protection…Life goes on anyway. How come we stop going outside or stop working simply because of fear of disease? We can’t do that.”
- Shops and restaurants did open but they didn’t have many customers. In Beijing at the Sanyuanli market, the stalls were stocked with pork, mutton, seafood, and vegetables, and all shoppers wore face masks. Liu Ying, one of the market workers who sell walnuts, cashews and other specialties, said, “the number of customers here is down a lot, maybe by more than half…But you can see a lot of people calling in orders, so we’re slowly getting busy again.”
- The Beijing city government told residential compounds to close their gates and check visitors for fevers and record their identity. The government is also warning others to wear masks in public and avoid crowded settings.
- More than 440 cases have been confirmed outside of China, which included two deaths in Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Of those case, 135 of those people are from a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo. Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the government planned on testing everyone on the Diamond Princess cruise ship which will require all 3,711 passengers and crew to remain on board until the test results came back.
We will continue to provide information on this health concern.