Coronavirus

Coronavirus: 6,000 tourists in lockdown on Italian cruise ship

KONFRONTASI-More than 6,000 tourists have been put on lockdown on a cruise ship in Italy on Thursday after a suspected case of coronavirus was detected on board the vast liner.

Samples taken from a Chinese couple were sent for testing after three doctors and a nurse boarded the Costa Crociere ship in the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome, to tend to a woman running a fever, local health authorities said.

Costa Crociere has confirmed that its ship, the Costa Smeralda, carrying some 7,000 people including crew, was in lockdown.

China virus deaths rise to 170 as hit to global economy looms

KONFRONTASI-Hundreds of foreign evacuees from the Chinese city of Wuhan entered quarantine on Thursday as deaths from a fast-spreading virus rose to 170 and markets shuddered at the impact of an inevitable big hit to the world’s No. 2 economy.

All eyes were on the World Health Organization (WHO), which has held off declaring the flu-like coronavirus a global emergency but was to reconsider that later in the day.

Such a declaration would trigger tighter containment and information-sharing guidelines, but may disappoint Beijing, which had expressed confidence in defeating the “devil” virus.

It could also potentially spook markets further.

“The fear is that they (the WHO) might raise the alarm bells ... so people are taking money off the table,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone.

The day after a state economist forecast the crisis would lop a percentage point off China’s first quarter growth, global stocks tumbled, the yuan hit its lowest this year, oil prices slid again and safe haven assets like gold gained.

The coronavirus, which originated in an illegal wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, has now claimed 170 lives and infected 7,711 people in China, latest official data showed.

Almost all the deaths have been in Hubei province - of which Wuhan is the capital - where 60 million people are now living under virtual lockdown, staying inside their homes and only venturing out with masks on.

“Canteens are not open. Most of the shops are closed. We cannot go out and buy food,” Si Thu Tun, one of 60 students from Myanmar trapped in Wuhan, told online news outlet the Democratic Voice of Burma.

“Honestly, I have one big potato and three packs of instant noodles and some rice,” he said. Myanmar plans a special flight to get the students out within three days.

GLOBAL SPREAD

As other countries fly citizens out, cut flights and corporate travel, and heighten screening, another 105 cases have emerged in at least 16 places from Japan to the United States.

An Italian cruise ship’s 6,000 passengers were kept on board while tests were held on two Chinese travelers suspected of having the coronavirus.

The crisis has stoked a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe, from shops barring Chinese tourists to online mockery and surprise checks on foreign workers.

Australia, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Indonesia were quarantining evacuees for at least two weeks, though the United States and Japan planned shorter, voluntary isolation.

Three Japanese, from 206 evacuated on Wednesday, were infected, and worryingly two of them had not shown symptoms, Tokyo said. A second Japanese flight included nine people showing fever or coughing symptoms, broadcaster NHK said.

India was the latest nation to report a case, a student of Wuhan University. And South Koreans protested at facilities earmarked as quarantine centers, throwing eggs at a minister.

“The weapons that will protect us from the new coronavirus are not fear and aversion, but trust and cooperation,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in as Seoul prepared to evacuate the first of about 700 citizens from Wuhan.

In the corporate world, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Sweden’s IKEA were the latest big names to close China operations. Samsung Electronics said it had extended holiday closure for some Chinese production facilities.

Airlines to suspend flights to China include British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Canada and American Airlines. Air France cabin crew unions were demanding the same, sources said, though the company has already allowed pilots and crew to opt out of China flights.

China first quarter growth may dip below 5% as virus spreads

KONFRONTASI-China’s economic growth may drop to 5% or even lower due to the coronavirus outbreak, possibly pushing policymakers into introduce more stimulus measures, a government economist said in remarks published on Wednesday.

The fast-spreading outbreak, which has killed more than 130 people and infected almost 6,000 in China, could cut first-quarter GDP growth by about 1 percentage point, Caijing magazine quoted Zhang Ming as saying.

China extends holiday, businesses shut as virus toll rises to 81

KONFRONTASI-The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 81 on Monday, as the government extended the Lunar New Year holiday and more big businesses shut down or told staff to work from home in an effort to curb the spread.

Premier Li Keqiang visited the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, as the central government stepped up its response while city authorities faced growing accusations from the public of mismanagement and a failure to respond to the outbreak in time.

Asian shares tumbled, with Japan’s Nikkei average sliding 2.0%, its biggest one-day fall in five months, as investors grew anxious. Demand spiked for safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen and Treasury notes.

The total number of confirmed cases in China rose about 30% from the previous day, to 2,744, with about half in the central province of Hubei, the capital of which is Wuhan. But some experts suspect the number of infected people is much higher.

As worry grew around the world, Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, which has had eight confirmed cases, banned entry to people who had visited Hubei in the past 14 days. The ban did not cover Hong Kong residents.

People from Hubei have come under scrutiny within mainland China as well, with many people facing suspicion from officials about their recent travels.

“Hubei people are getting discriminated against,” a Wuhan resident complained on the Weibo social media platform.

The number of deaths from the virus in Hubei climbed to 76 from 56, health officials said, with five deaths elsewhere in China.

While a small number of cases linked to people who traveled from Wuhan have been confirmed in more than 10 countries, including Thailand, France, Japan and the United States, no deaths have been reported elsewhere.

‘WUHAN JIAYOU!’

Li is the most senior leader to visit Wuhan since the outbreak began. Clad in a blue protective suit and mask, he inspected efforts to contain the epidemic was shown on state television leading medical workers in chants of “Wuhan jiayou!” - an exhortation that translates literally as “add oil!”.

On China’s heavily censored social media, where dissent is typically suppressed, local officials have borne the brunt of mounting public anger.

Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang told state broadcaster CCTV the city’s management of the crisis was “not good enough” - rare self-criticism for a Chinese official - and said he was willing to resign.

The city of 11 million people is in virtual lockdown and much of Hubei province, home to nearly 60 million people, is under some kind of travel curb.

The government is extending the week-long Lunar New Year holiday by three days to Feb. 2, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. The Lunar New Year is usually a time for travel by millions, but many have had to cancel plans.

Investors are worried about the impact on travel, tourism and broader economic activity.

During the 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally, air passenger demand in Asia plunged 45%. The travel industry is more reliant on Chinese travelers now than it was then.

The newly identified coronavirusvirus is believed to have originated late last year in a Wuhan market illegally selling wildlife.

Much is not known about it, including how easily it spreads and just how deadly it is.

National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said on Sunday the incubation period could range from one to 14 days, and the virus was infectious during incubation, unlike SARS.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated an incubation period of two to 10 days.

Kondisi Mahasiswa Indonesia di Wuhan, Pastikan Asramanya Jauh dari RS Pasien Coronavirus

KONFRONTASI -  Sebanyak 93 mahasiwa Indonesia di Wuhan, Tiongkok, meminta masyarakat dan orang tua mereka di Indonesia untuk tidak panik dan terlalu khawatir dengan kondisi mereka. Mereka semua kini dalam keadaan aman, sehat, dan baik-baik saja. Pihak kampus dan pemerintah setempat terus mengedukasi dan mengarahkan setiap langkah yang harus diambil termasuk menjauhi lokasi kerumunan.

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