6,000 Quarantined On Italian Cruise Ship; Virus Spreads To The Philippines & India

by | Jan 30, 2020 | Headline News | 5 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge. 


    With the WHO set to reconvene its emergency committee in Geneva on Thursday for the third time in a week, experts are calling on the supra-national organization to label the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” or PHEIC – the official designation of a global pandemic.


    • 7,921 confirmed cases worldwide, 170 fatalities
    • South Korea confirms the first human-to-human transmission
    • China reported the largest one-day jump in fatalities on Wednesday with
    • Hong Kong warns of surgical mask shortage
    • Russia closes border
    • 6,000 quarantined aboard an Italian cruise ship
    • Thailand leads with most cases outside China (14)
    • Chinese national hospitalized and quarantined in York
    • The virus arrives in India, Philippines

    Update (0920ET): Air France has acquiesced to its employees’ demands and confirmed that it’s suspending all flights to and from the Chinese mainland, joining a host of other airlines who have done the same thing.

    Update (0855ET): The UK is reporting shortages of facemasks amid several virus scares, the Guardian reports. Shortages have also been reported in Hong Kong and across China.

    On the Boots website, a six-pack of “safe & sound” surgical face masks is sold out, with a note saying they will not be receiving any further stock.

    Another product on the Boots website, a box of 50 masks, is also sold out and carries the same message about not being restocked.

    Boots said surgical face masks are available to order in stores as a special line from the pharmacy counter, adding that they are “working to make additional stock available for customers to purchase in store and on boots.com which we hope will land over the next week”.

    A branch of B&Q in London appeared to be low on stocks of face masks, with racks empty on Wednesday evening.

    Meanwhile, on amazon.co.uk, a pack of 12 “anti virus” flu surgical face masks is sold out, with the online retailer saying they do not know when, or if, the item will be back in stock, although there are other masks available on the site.

    -Source: Guardian

    And for those who can’t get their hands on a mask – we suggest you improvise.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam said it will stop issuing visas for Chinese tourists, as have the Philippines and Russia. In China, Beijing has removed the city health commissioner in Huanggang. We suspect he may never be heard from again.

    * * *

    Update (0816ET): Hubei has reported 317 new cases as of noon Thursday local time, according to local Party Secretary Jiang Chaoliang. Hubei is the province at the epicenter of the outbreak: the virus originated in the province’s capital, Wuhan. The most recent count put the number of confirmed cases at 7,921 and the death toll steady at 170.

    Hong Kong is reportedly struggling with a shortage of face masks. Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said the government had bought 13 million masks, but public hospitals have been using 5x to 6x as many as normal. Hong Kong is stepping up local production at correctional facilities to keep up with demand, and another 24 million should be available at retail outlets soon

    * * *

    Update (0800ET): Has the virus come to Yorkshire?

    A Chinese national has been rushed to a hospital after taking ill at a hospital in York…

    No cases of the virus have been confirmed in the UK so far, though there have been a handful of scares.

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Thursday that the first British evacuation flight could take off from Wuhan as soon as Thursday evening UK time. The flight was supposed to leave Thursday morning, but there was a delay as Chinese officials were slow to grant permission for takeoff.

    As the viral outbreak turns neighbors against each other and inspired a wave of suspicion in towns and cities across China, some have chosen to seek comfort by playing children’s games.

    * * *

    Update (0745ET): South Korea just joined Japan, Thailand, and Germany (and possibly the US) in confirming a case of human-to-human viral transmission that occurred within its borders, involving one individual who hasn’t recently traveled to China.

    South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed two more cases Thursday, bringing the total to six. However, the sixth patient to be confirmed, a 56-year-old South Korean man, was diagnosed after “coming in contact with a third patient” inside South Korea, according to CNA.

    He has been quarantined at a hospital in Seoul. The other five were diagnosed after returning from Wuhan, the city where the virus first emerged, which is now under a draconian government-imposed lockdown.

    * * *

    Update (0725ET): Following several unconfirmed scares, India has confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus. That means all three of the world’s most populous countries have now confirmed at least one case of the virus.

    And that list could soon expand. Brazil, the world’s fifth most-populous country, reported three suspected cases yesterday. Malaysia has confirmed at least 8 cases. Reports that a Thai woman died of the virus on Kolkata were never confirmed.

    Meanwhile, here’s the most up-to-date map we could find:

    Earlier, the White House said it had launched a task force that will meet daily to oversee the response to the coronavirus outbreak that has resulted in at least five confirmed cases in the US, NBC reports. However, an expert who appeared on CNBC Thursday morning pointed out that the administration is a little behind the 8-ball.

    If the administration wasn’t so bogged down with impeachment, maybe Trump would have more time to focus on the virus response?

    “Let’s remember we have fewer than four cases in the United States, and they’re concentrated in four states,” he said. The maximum country is Thailand, with 14 cases, he said – and the US is nowhere near that.

    Reports out of Atlanta claimed that more than 20 passengers had been quarantined at Hartsfield-Jackson airport as they undergo advanced screening for the virus.

    In other news: The Philippines has also reported its first case:  A 38-year-old female Chinese patient who arrived from Wuhan via Hong Kong on Jan. 21.

    * * *

    Update (0710ET): Airline employees are putting their feet down and demanding that their bosses halt flights to China, as more than a dozen airlines around the world have already done.

    Air France cabin crew unions have demanded Air France stop flying to China, Reuters reports.

    “Air France is monitoring the rapidly evolving situation in real-time. The health and safety of its crew remain the absolute priority,” said Air France-KLM.

    We’ve heard whispers of employee discontent before. But expect to see more to forcefully object.

    * * *

    National health officials in Beijing announced their biggest one-day jump in virus deaths and hundreds of new cases early Thursday morning (nearly 8,000 have been sickened, another 12,000 cases are suspected, and roughly 170 have died), but since then, things have been quiet.

    If the recent past is any guide, this would suggest another dump of new cases and deaths is in the offing.

    Three new cases were confirmed in Vietnam overnight. But in terms of news flow, most of the drama during the early hours of Thursday centered around Italy and Russia.

    A map of cases hasn’t yet reflected the suspected cases in Italy.

    With the WHO set to reconvene its emergency committee in Geneva on Thursday for the third time in a week, experts are calling on the supra-national organization to label the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” or PHEIC – the official designation of a global pandemic.

    The 16 independent experts on the WHO’s emergency committee will advise Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the decision and give recommendations for managing the outbreak. Earlier this week, Tedros met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier in the week to discuss the situation. Twice last week, the WHO decided to hold off on declaring a public health emergency, saying it was “too soon,” according to the SCMP.

    Hitoshi Oshitani, a former regional adviser on communicable disease surveillance and response at the WHO’s Western Pacific office, told the SCMP that there is an “imminent risk” of a dangerous global outbreak.

    “I think the WHO should have declared a public health emergency of international concern earlier. They are supposed to declare PHEIC based on a risk of international spread. There was already significant risk of international spread one week ago,” Oshitani said.

    Oshitani added that controlling this new coronavirus is proving more difficult than suppressing the 2003 SARS outbreak, largely because the virus can spread via individuals who are infected, but exhibit few – or no – symptoms.

    “For Sars, patients were infectious only when they developed very severe illness. But for this virus, patients are likely to be infectious even during the incubation period. If so, rapid isolation is not enough to contain the virus,” he said.

    SARS infected 8,000 people and killed 813 worldwide. The coronavirus outbreak has already surpassed SARS in terms of the number of cases in China. Globally, the virus has already effectively tied SARS for the number of confirmed cases, though if skeptical epidemiologists are correct, the true number of cases has already far surpassed the total for SARs.

    A number of evacuation missions have been completed, as the US and Japan have flown citizens trapped in Wuhan to safety. However, Japanese officials discovered that several citizens on the flight were infected with the virus, leading to a mass quarantine. UK officials said that citizens evacuated from Wuhan must agree to spend two weeks in quarantine after returning to the UK.

    About 6,000 passengers and crew aboard the cruise ship “Costa Smeralda,” owned by the Carnival Corporation, have been confined to the vessel on Thursday amid new fears that two Chinese passengers are suspected of having coronavirus, reported Reuters.

    Two Chinese tourists, traveling from Hong Hong and, originally, from Macau, have been placed in “isolation in separate rooms of the ship’s sanitary space,” said local media outlet, ANSA.

    The tourist arrived in Italy on Jan. 25 and boarded the vessel in the port of Savona in Italy. The two have come down with high fevers and breathing problems.

    “The cabin of the Hong Kong couple on the ship has been isolated and they are closed there with the doctors. They told us that it is the woman who has a very high fever, while her husband is visiting him as a precaution. We arrived in the morning, returning from Palma de Mallorca. Of course, we are a bit worried. From the ship, apart from the doctors, no one goes down and no one goes up. Someone, who has only the flu, remained in the cabin. It is a vacation that risks ending like a nightmare, we hope to go down soon,” a passenger of the ship told ANSA.

    The cruise ship has already moored in Marseilles in France and several Spanish ports this week before docking on Thursday at Civitavecchia, north of Rome.

    Reuters notes that all passengers have been confined to the ship as tests are underway to determine if the two Chinese tourists have coronavirus.

    Carnival shares plunged as much as 6% in pre-market Thursday after the ANSA report.

    Now the cruise company has a difficult decision to make: those infected with coronavirus may not exhibit symptoms of the virus during the 7-10 day incubation period but can infect others at high rates. This means if the Chinese tourist test positive, they might have infected the entire ship. That many cases will likely overwhelm Italy’s ability to rapidly respond.

    Here’s a live view of the cruise ship docked at Civitavecchia.


    Russia’s newly appointed Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Thursday signed an order to close the country’s border with the Far East to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Russia joins North Korea, becoming the second country to completely shutter its border with the world’s second-largest economy. Although Russia hasn’t provided details about the plan, Russia also borders China, Japan, and North Korea along the Far East.

    Mishustin has also asked Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova to inform the population on a daily basis about the current situation and preventive measures, according to the Russian press.

    Both Russia and the Czech Republic have decided to suspend the granting of visas to Chinese.

    Meanwhile, villages and apartment complexes across China are “taking the fight against a deadly viral epidemic into their own hands,” according to AFP.

    Some areas are starting to look like something out of sectarian conflict, complete with checkpoints and makeshift barricades. Groups of locals have constructed makeshift barricades across access roads to keep potentially-infected strangers out.

    More holiday extensions have been reported across China as economists expect that most of the country’s economy will be shuttered well into February. Bloomberg reported that at least one Chinese city and several provinces have extended the Lunar New Year holiday beyond Feb. 2 in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Shanghai, the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia and provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, have suspended business until least Feb. 10. Hubei province said its holiday will continue until Valentine’s Day.

    In one residential compound in Beijing, “a motley stack of shared bicycles have been haphazardly woven together and wired to a wooden ladder, blocking a side gate and forcing visitors to register with guards at the main entrance.”

    With more than 50 million people still on lockdown, resentment against the ruling party has intensified, and more Chinese are speaking out on social media, according to the NYT“We gave up our rights in exchange for protection,” the user wrote. “But what kind of protection is it? Where will our long-lasting political apathy lead us?” That post was shared more than 7,000 times.


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      1. Howdy Y’all,

        I strongly submit that ONLY figures for R-Nought obtained exclusively from data OTHER than those cases originating in China be utilized in assessing the P2P effectiveness. Ergo, ignore all figures which include data originating from China directly.

        Given the propensity for all strata of the Chinese beauracracy to obfuscate the actual real-life figures the West had better be relying SOLEY on observational fact as here witnessed and duly reported through standard, reliable channel.

        Also, bear in mind that the rapid dissemination of the virus globally thus far raises another far more sobering point. As it jumps from population to population, crossing national borders and continents it encounters more and more genetic data to incorporate into itself. The nature of mutation – intrinsically – implies that while some populations will fare better than others, it is the cross-transmission of phenotypic information that will determine whether this ends up being relatively benign or not. Once the virus has passed through something on the order of several million people the potential for it to effect a truly efficient mutation which serves to adapt it to a broader population begins escalating rapidly.

        The upshot here? Give nCoV another 6-8 weeks at the current rate of progression and thereafter -IFF it remains viable – sooner or later it will likely get quite a bit more serious…REAL SERIOUS. Till then, watch…vigilantly, eh?


        Footnote; ‘IFF’ is the abbreviation for ‘If and only if’ amongst the mathematically inclined crowd…

      2. “Where will our long-lasting political apathy lead us?”

        Dialectics didn’t work, either.

      3. Not coronavirus: 6,000 cruise ship passengers given OK to disembark after passenger diagnosed with flu.

        The 6,000 passengers and crew aboard the Costa Smeralda cruise ship can breathe a sigh of relief: They can finally disembark after a passenger of Chinese nationality who had been sick, was diagnosed with the flu – not the new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

        The cruise line confirmed that Italian health authorities had diagnosed the passenger, a 54-year-old woman, with the common flu, a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly, told USA TODAY.

      4. So, Boomers will combine forces for a group deal.

        Besides the absolute authority of the captain, and vaccinations required to travel to foreign countries, and routine inspections, everyone who regularly goes on these ships, enough times, brings back with them weird horror stories, in which they were physically endangered.

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