[WCJB] Wuhan officials face anger over virus response as countries prepare evacuation
Hong Kong's leader has announced that all rail links to mainland China will be cut starting Friday as fears grow about the spread of a new virus. Chief Executive Carrie Lam says both the high-speed rail station and the regular train station will be closed.
China's death toll from a new viral disease that is causing mounting global concern rose by 25 to at least 106 on Tuesday as the U.S. and other governments prepare to fly their citizens out of the locked-down city at center of the outbreak.
The death toll includes the first death in Beijing, the Chinese capital, and 24 more fatalities in Hubei province, where the first illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus occurred in December. More than 4,500 cases are confirmed.
Germany announced its first case Tuesday. The 33-year-old man is in isolation at a Munich hospital as a precaution. He took part last Tuesday in a training session at his workplace that also involved an employee from China. The woman, who hadn't previously shown any symptoms, flew home on Thursday and went to a doctor after feeling ill on the flight. She then tested positive for the new virus.
The Chinese government has locked down whole cities in the Hubei province, isolating some 50 million people in a sweeping anti-disease effort. The United States and some other governments, including Japan, France and South Korea, are preparing to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, the locked-down city at the center of the outbreak.
The U.S. government is chartering a flight to transport several hundred diplomats, family members, and other Americans out of Wuhan, but many of the thousand or so Americans in the city are staying behind because of non-American family members, who aren't allowed on the plane.
San Francisco native Doug Perez says "there is no way on Earth" he would leave behind his Chinese girlfriend, and plans to hunker down and weather out the epidemic for as long as it takes.
While richer countries prepare to evacuate some citizens from Wuhan, a Tanzanian student has become an accidental leader for hundreds of African peers with little chance of a similar escape. A grassroots effort has begun to combat disinformation and keep them calm.
Beijing's push to expand its influence on the youthful African continent means there are 80,000 African students in China, with more than 4,000 said to be in Wuhan alone. None expected to be confined to their campuses amid the virus outbreak as food risks running short.
Meanwhile, anger has exploded over a sluggish response to the virus by local Wuhan officials, even as the central government has acted swiftly.
Top city officials attended a Lunar New Year gala last week where performers were sniffling and sneezing, and thousands of people shared a community feast the same day the National Health Commission came to investigate a new viral outbreak.
Local hospitals pleaded for supplies as overworked doctors and nurses grappled with crowds.
Experts say the local inaction reflects systematic problems with the Chinese government's increasingly rigid, authoritarian rule.
Panic over the virus and pollution are driving a surging market for protective face masks in Asia, straining supplies and helping make mask-wearing the new normal. Demand for face masks and hand sanitizing liquid has soared, as both local residents and visitors from China stock up on such products as a precaution. Factories are rushing to boost production.
In some parts of Asia, wearing of surgical masks has become mandatory, for now.
Asian stock markets tumbled for a second day, dragged down by worries about the virus's global economic impact. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed Tuesday for Lunar New Year holidays, while South Korea's benchmark tumbled 3.4% as it reopened after its own holidays. Shares also fell in Tokyo, Sydney and Taiwan. However, shares rose Tuesday in Paris and Frankfurt.Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
India mulls sending special flight to bring back Indians stranded in China’s Wuhan as coronavirus death toll soars - report RT
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SPH complies with POFMA, removes fake news about Wuhan coronavirus Marketing Interactive
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