China Officials Cover Up Virus Epidemic; CDC Warning

Communist Party chiefs fired amid fast growing China epidemic | 

Coronavirus Pandemic News Alerts |

Feb 12, 2020 |

Reuters – China’s Communist Party has replaced the party heads in the coronavirus stricken province of Hubei and its capital Wuhan, state media said on Thursday, reporting the most high profile officials to be dismissed in the wake of the epidemic.

The removal of Jiang Chaoliang, the leading Communist Party official of Hubei province, and Ma Guoqiang, his counterpart in Wuhan, follows the dismissal of two provincial health officials on Tuesday, and is part of a wider effort by Beijing to remove bureaucrats it accuses of shirking their duties.

The central government has set up a special cabinet task force under Premier Li Keqiang to handle the crisis, and the new appointments in Hubei suggest that China’s senior leaders are taking greater control.

Shanghai mayor Ying Yong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, replacing Jiang, the official Xinhua news agency said without explaining why Jiang was removed.

Ying worked closely with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter’s time as party boss and governor of Zhejiang province, which neighbors Shanghai … Read more. 

14th American diagnosed with new coronavirus after CDC warned spread was ‘likely’

Feb 12, 2020

ABC News – A 14th American has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, hours after the Centers for Disease Control warned the spread of the disease in the U.S. was “likely.”

The person who tested positive was one of those evacuated from Wuhan, China, where the disease first emerged, on a flight that landed in California on Feb. 7, according to the CDC.

It is the second person at the San Diego military base to test positive for the disease, but officials said the two arrived on different flights and there was no evidence of person-to-person transmission in the quarantine.

More than 600 people remain in quarantine in the U.S. after being flown out of China last week, officials said.

Top health officials prepped Americans for the prospect of novel coronavirus spreading in communities in the United States during a news conference earlier Wednesday.

“At some point, we we are likely to see community spread in the U.S.,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“[We] can and should be prepared for this new virus to take a foothold in the U.S.,” Messonnier said.

So far, there are only 14 cases confirmed in the United States, according to the CDC. The patients are in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin and all but two cases are linked to travel to Wuhan, China … Read more. 

Almost 60,000 coronavirus cases confirmed in China

Feb 13, 2020

CNN – The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in mainland China rose to 59,804, the country’s National Health Commission announced on Thursday.

That’s an increase of 15,152 cases from the previous day.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the country now stands at 1,367 deaths, a jump of 254 from the previous day, the NHC said.

A total of 5,911 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital … Read more. 

Deaths in China from coronavirus top 1,300 with big jump in cases as country expands diagnosis

Feb 13, 2020

Hong Kong (CNN) – The Chinese province at the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak reported a record spike in deaths Thursday, bringing the total number to more than 1,300 people globally, as experts warned the epidemic could “create havoc” in less prepared countries.

Health authorities in Hubei announced an additional 242 deaths and 14,840 cases of the virus, known officially as Covid-19, as of Thursday morning, the largest single-day rise since the epidemic began and almost 10 times the number of cases confirmed the previous day.

The government explained the spike as due to a change in how cases are tabulated — the total will now include “clinically diagnosed cases” after rising numbers of residents complained about the difficulty in getting tested and treated for the virus.

“Clinically diagnosed cases” are those patients who demonstrate all the symptoms of Covid-19 but have been unable to be scientifically tested, or died before they were tested. The hope is that more people will be able to receive treatment by allowing doctors to diagnose them with the virus.

Almost 34,000 patients have been hospitalized across Hubei, the central Chinese province of which Wuhan is capital, including 1,400 or so in a critical condition. So far, 3,441 patients have recovered and been discharged.

Globally, the virus has infected more than 60,000 people, with the vast majority of cases in mainland China. On Thursday, China said it has confirmed 59,804 cases on the mainland, an increase of 15,152 cases from the previous day.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the country now stands at 1,367, according to China’s National Health Commission.
Only two deaths have occurred outside of mainland China.

World Health Organization (WHO) officials described China’s decision to broaden their definition of what constitutes a confirmed case as a necessary measure. Read more.

China reports 254 new virus deaths, cases, using new method

By YANAN WANG Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday reported 254 new daily deaths and a spike in daily virus cases of 15,152, after new methodology was applied in the hardest-hit province of Hubei as to how cases are categorized.

The total deaths from the more than 2-month-old outbreak stood at 1,367, with the total number of confirmed cases mounting to 59,804. The change in categorization appeared to push forward the process to a doctors’ on-the-spot diagnosis rather than waiting for the results of laboratory tests.

In breaking down the large number of new cases in China, National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said Hubei at the epicenter had adopted a revised diagnosis and treatment plan aimed at accelerating the identification and treatment of virus cases.

That adds a “clinical diagnosis case” classification to identify suspected cases who appear to have pneumonia so that patients can be accepted as soon as possible and treated as confirmed cases, Mi said, adding that should “reduce severe illness and mortality.”\

China also replaced its top officials in Hubei and its capital, Wuhan.

Former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong succeeds Jiang Chaoliang as the ruling Communist Party’s chief in the beleaguered province, the Xinhua state news agency reported, while Wang Zhonglin will take over from Ma Guoqiang as the party secretary in Wuhan.

The high-level appointments follow the sacking earlier this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission. State media also reported that a slew of others were expelled from the party for transgressions related to the epidemic.

The public has widely criticized local officials for their handling of the outbreak. The virus first surfaced December in Wuhan, and has since spread to more than two dozen countries.

Many countries have implemented travel restrictions on recent visitors to China, which has more than 99% of the world’s reported infections.
In Vietnam, official media reported that a village of 10,000 northwest of the capital Hanoi was put in lockdown due to a cluster of cases there.

The online newspaper VN Express cited a senior official of Vinh Phuc province as reporting an increase in cases in Son Loi. Vietnam has confirmed 16 cases, most of them in the province.

In an unprecedented measure to contain the disease, recently dubbed COVID-19, the Chinese government has placed the hardest-hit cities — home to more than 60 million — under lockdown.

Japan’s Health Ministry announced Thursday that 44 more people on a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship has 218 infections among its 3,700 passengers and crew.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters five of the patients who were already sent to hospitals for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 have severe symptoms and are on artificial respirators or under intensive care.

Another cruise ship, the Westerdam, finally anchored Thursday off Cambodia after being turned away by several Asian and Pacific governments. No cases of the viral illness have been confirmed among its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members, according to operator Holland America Line.

Thailand refused to allow the Westerdam to dock this week after it had already been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Guam over virus concerns.

The Westerdam began its cruise in Singapore last month and its last stop before it was refused further landings was in Hong Kong, where 50 cases of the viral disease have been confirmed.
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Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, researcher Yu Bing in Beijing, Sopheng Cheang in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and Grant Peck in Bangkok contributed to this report.