New coronavirus: Beijing orders mandatory quarantine for returnees, while the US moves to evacuate cruise ship passengers


Beijing officials announced on Friday at local time that all people returning to the Chinese capital would be required to stay at home or on observation for 14 days in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to the state news agency Xinhua .

Anyone who violates the new quarantine rules may suffer legal repercussions.

The order comes when authorities across the country try to stop the spread of the deadly virus, officially known as Covid-19. Last week, there was a big increase in numbers, partly due to the extension of definitions by the government for a confirmed case.

The National Health Commission of China said on Saturday that the death toll across the country had increased 143 and the number of cases jumped 2,641 from the previous day.

The new commission figures also reveal that medical workers in China were hit hard; 1,716 doctors have been infected so far, including six who have died.

This brings the total number of cases globally to 67,097 and the global number of deaths to 1,526. The vast majority of these numbers are in mainland China and are concentrated in the province of Hubei, where the virus originated.

Outside of China, more than 600 cases have been confirmed, including 200 cases on a cruise ship anchored in Japan; the United States government is sending a charter plane on Sunday to evacuate Americans on board who wish to leave.


The virus will continue "beyond this season, this year"

Friday marked the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Africa, with a single patient in Egypt. Countries around the world have implemented stringent emergency measures after the outbreak – but these containment efforts can only slow the spread of the virus, and not stop it, said Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. On thursday.

Instead, these efforts can save precious time for scientists, who are rushing to develop a vaccine. Currently, there is no treatment or cure for Covid-19.

The fight against the virus is complicated by the little we know – researchers are still learning more about how it survives, transmits and replicates.

    CDC Director: the new coronavirus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year

"This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think that eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission (in the United States)," warned Redfield. "The containment phase is really to give us more time."

The CDC has offered to send experts to China, but the offer has not yet been accepted. Instead, a Joint mission led by the World Health Organization China is expected to reach this weekend, bringing together international and WHO experts and their Chinese national colleagues.

The joint mission will review the data and make field visits to decide what the next response and containment steps should be, in China and worldwide.

Number of outbreaks experienced globally

The coronavirus has now spread to 28 countries – with Japan reporting the highest number of cases outside of China.

There was one death and 258 confirmed cases in Japan, 219 of which are from the ship Princess Princess which is currently docked in Yokohama Bay in quarantine.

The Diamond Princess cruise on February 12, 2020 in Yokohama, Japan.

The cruise has been quarantined with more than 3,700 people on board since February 4, and the quarantine is scheduled to end on February 19.

Countries are working to help and recover their citizens from the ship; The United States is sending chartered planes to evacuate American citizens and their families on Sunday night, local time. Those who choose to fly back on evacuation planes will be quarantined for 14 days when they arrive.

Hong Kong also sent four employees to the ship to deliver supplies to 11 infected citizens on board.

Another cruise ship, Westerdam, was also detained for several days this week, after being removed from four Asian ports for fear of coronavirus – although there are no suspicious cases on board. Finally, passengers were allowed to dock and disembark in Cambodia on Friday.

The coronavirus is already hurting the world economy. Here's why it is really scary
The coronavirus also sent reverberations through the global economy. China is struggling to get back to work after companies have been closed and schools suspended for weeks. Millions are now working from home, with Chinese President Xi Jinping warning on Monday that the country needed to stabilize its economy and avoid mass layoffs.
But it's not just China that is affected – the closure of Chinese factories has disrupted supply chains globally, threatening cause a recession in Germany and shortage of smartphones worldwide.

"This continues to grow in scope and magnitude. It can end up being very, very big and very, very serious," said William Reinsch, senior consultant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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