WHO Chief Warns “Window Of Opportunity Is Narrowing” As Coronavirus Spreads To Lebanon, Iran & Israel; China Orders Millions Back To Work

See the source image

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

Update (1130ET): Epidemiologist had already warned that patients could be reinfected with the virus. But the Epoch Times’ Jennifer Zeng is sharing a report about a patient in Sichuan (notably one of the provinces visited by WHO experts) who was reinfected with the virus after recovering.

CAP

UPI reported earlier that everal patients in China who were discharged from hospitals after making a full recovery have been reinfected, citing reports in the People’s Daily on Friday.

One patient in Chengdu was discharged from a local hospital and was quarantined for 14 days at home, but somehow became reinfected. And doctors quoted in the story said her case isn’t unique.

It’s also possible to catch the flu twice in one season, but that is rare.

* * *

Update (1100ET): Epoch Times’ Jennifer Zeng is reporting that in parts of China, the government has signaled to workers that they will be “punished” if they don’t report back to work.

And for everyone who gets infected, don’t expect your employer to deal with it, Zeng adds. “if you get infected, it is not a work-related injury. You are on your own.”

That’s pretty chilling stuff, but as we pointed out yesterday, there’s an ongoing debate in parts of the country where case numbers aren’t as high (not that anybody trusts the government’s figures) about whether keeping the economy on lockdown might be doing more harm then good. And in order to prevent a repeat of what happened last time (when millions just simply didn’t show up), it’s upping the ante for citizens who don’t abide by the state’s command.

The New York Times is reporting that, for the first time since the outbreak began, Chinese health officials acknowledged on Friday that their constant changes to the ‘criteria’ for what constitutes a ‘confirmed case’ have sown confusion and mistrust.

As we have assiduously reported, officials in Hubei have revised their case tallies three times now because of these shifting definitions.

in the province hardest hit by the coronavirus acknowledged for the first time on Friday that their methods of confirming and reporting infection numbers had sown confusion and mistrust. They added that they would no longer subtract cases from the total. The message comes just hours after state media reported new breakouts in a handful of Chinese prisons.

Moving over to the WHO’s daily press conference from Switzerland, Director-General Dr. Tedros commented on the new cases and deaths reported in Iran, as well as Lebanon, which reported its first case this morning though hasn’t yet recorded a death.

Dr. Tedros said the new wave of outbreaks suggests that the world is at a “tipping point.”

“The window of opportunity is narrowing,” Dr. Tedros said, and humanity is running out of time to stop this virus before things get much, much worse.

You know, just some reassuring words to kick off the weekend with a little levity.

We’re starting to suspect that Dr. Tedros may have recently purchased some out-of-the-money S&P puts.

Seemingly responding to the growing number of ‘armchair cranks’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ questioning why a WHO team of experts – a team that includes two Americans – hasn’t yet traveled to Wuhan, Dr. Tedros added that the team is planning to travel to the epicenter of the outbreak on Saturday.

CAP

So far, the team has traveled to Beijing, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces.

* * *

Update (1000ET): Check this out.

The NYT has published an interesting interactive illustrating the huge drop in flights departing from China to the US and other major economies.

The disappearance of tens of thousands of flights leaving China shows “how the coronavirus has hobbled a nation,” the NYT said.

Jan. 23:

Feb. 13:

Put another way:

As the NYT reports, Oxford Economics said in a recent report that the outbreak could wipe $1.1 trillion from global output, which kind of undercuts Larry Kudlow’s stammering on CNBC about this not being a ‘US story’: It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the US economy would walk away unaffected by this.

See it here.

In other news, Beijing continues to push the ‘everything’s fine; we’re winning’ narrative.

Update (0725ET): Lebanon has confirmed its first case of COVID-9.

CAP

The tiny Levantine state, which has swollen with refugees from nearby Syria in recent years, is in the middle of an economic crisis, and its government is presently weighing whether to default on an upcoming loan payment, which could lead to deeply unpopular austerity measures, as Al Jazeera reports.

Earlier, Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed that an Israeli citizen contracted the virus while aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship (1 of 11 Israeli passengers). She is currently under supervision and isolation in Israel. All 11 were flown out of Japan and sent directly Friday into isolation at Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital, where they will remain during a 2-week quarantine period. Earlier this week, Israel’s government announced a temporary travel ban on all foreign nationals who had traveled to Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao during the past 2 weeks.

Following reports yesterday that two Beijing hospitals had been put under quarantine amid fears of a wider outbreak, WaPo reported that one district in Beijing has been found to have an “infection density” second only to Wuhan on mainland China. This has served to further intensify concerns about what might happen when millions of Chinese return to work next week.

* * *

When historians look back at the COVID-19 outbreak, they’ll remember this week as an important turning point in the crisis, when international public-health experts and investors started to focus their attention on South Korea, Japan and other countries in the region that have seen the number of new cases accelerate markedly in recent days.

Put another way, evidence that the virus is spreading more rapidly within other Asian countries outside mainland China has become impossible to ignorewhich is probably why US futures are pointing to a lower open for a second straight day.

As Bloomberg reminds us, South Korea has seen its total cases soar past 200 as the number of infections doubled in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, cases in Singapore and Japan have topped 85, and let’s not forget the 600+ from the ‘Diamond Princess’ who have been excluded from the ‘Japan’ total.

At least as far as deaths are concerned, the numbers outside of China remain small: out of 2,247 deaths, only 13 have occurred in other regions (this includes 2 more deaths in Iran announced just minutes ago).

But there’s no getting around it: the spread of the virus will undoubtedly worsen the economic blowback, as one economist explained to BBG.

“The sudden jump in infections in other parts of Asia, notably in Japan and South Korea, has sparked renewed concerns,” said Khoon Goh, Singapore-based head of Asia research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

“This points to a new phase in the outbreak, and one which will see continued disruption and more economic impact than previously thought.”

Last night, we reported on the latest case numbers out of South Korea, and more have already been recorded. The current total is 204. Earlier this month, the WHO said China’s approach to tackling the virus should be a “model” for other governments facing similar outbreaks. At the time, experts criticized the organization for appearing to parrot Chinese propaganda. But it looks like they might have been on to something. Because as we reported late last night, the Blue House has ordered a ‘special management zones’ in the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo, or what appears to be a kind of ‘soft’ quarantine. The government said that since they’ve failed to prevent an outbreak, they’re pivoting decidedly to a strategy of containment.

Just a few hours ago, Chinese state media reported that 500 cases – roughly half of the new cases reported in China on Friday – involved prisoners at a handful of jails across the country, according to the Washington Post.

Infections have been confirmed at five prisons in Shandong, Hubei and Zhejiang, according to China’s Ministry of Justice. A prison in eastern Shandong province showed 207 out of 2,077 inmates and staff were infected, and the provincial justice department’s Communist Party secretary was dismissed as a result, the province announced. Another jail in Zhejiang province found 34 cases. Hubei province, at the center of the outbreak, said Friday it found 220 new cases inside penitentiaries.

According to the Washington Post, the prison outbreaks underscore the virus’s easy transmissibility in confined spaces.

Even the Global Times acknowledged that the prison outbreaks have “weakened” Beijing’s claims that the virus is receding…

CAP

…Even as local officials adopt ever-more bizarre and draconian restrictions on individual movement.

CAP

Tests at a prison in eastern Shandong province showed 207 out of 2,077 inmates and staff were infected, and the provincial justice department’s Communist Party secretary was dismissed as a result, the province announced. Another jail in Zhejiang province found 34 cases. Hubei province, at the center of the outbreak, said Friday it found 220 new cases inside penitentiaries.

The prison outbreaks underscored the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s high transmissibility in confined spaces after the disease ravaged the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan.

While overall numbers remain low, thousands who fear they may have come into contact with a ‘super-spreader’ in Daegu, a city of 2.5 million about 2 hours south of Seoul. The woman, who believed she was suffering from a simple cold because she had not traveled abroad, reportedly attended four church services at a “cult-like” church with 1,100 members in the city, as well as branches in other cities, including Seoul, where the mayor has ordered the local church closed until further notice.

Communist Party leaders made yet another public misstep overnight when health officials said they would once again change their ‘criteria’ for what constitutes a ‘confirmed’ case of COVID-19 back to the more inclusive and accurate definition. Officials said they decided on the switch because they couldn’t subtract already confirmed cases from the total, which sounds…almost plausible.

On CNBC Friday morning, Eunice Yoon, the network’s reporter on the ground in Beijing, interviewed the owner of a Beijing restaurant discussing his fears about going out of business. But as China slouches back to work, millions are worried that Beijing might sacrifice the public welfare to get a few factories up and running.

Looks like the cat’s out of the bag: North Korea has cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon, the country’s largest tourism money-maker, because of COVID-19, according to the operators of several tour companies who spoke with AFP.

Beijing-based Koryo Tours, the official partner of the marathon, said on its website it had “received official confirmation today that the Pyongyang Marathon 2020 is cancelled”.

“This is due to the ongoing closure of the North Korean border and COVID-19 virus situation in China and the greater region,” it added.

North Korean officials have vehemently denied reports that the virus had crossed the Yalu River, evening becoming enraged at the US in response to an offer of assistance from the State Department. Recently, a WHO official said there are “no indications” that the virus has arrived in North Korea, but considering that we’re talking about North Korea, that’s hardly surprising.

As the lockdowns in Beijing, Tianjin and other cities intensified over the last week, more Chinese were subjected to displays like this:

On Friday, Japanese health officials and Carnival Japan will release the last batch of passengers and crew from their 14-day quarantine aboard the ‘Diamond Princess’ despite criticisms from the CDC that Japanese officials had failed to maintain the quarantine. Right now, infectious disease experts see Japan as one of the riskiest places outside China, according to BBG. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Sunday that Japan had lost track of the route of some of the infection cases, which have tripled in the past week to more than 90.

Iran just confirmed 13 more cases and 2 new deaths, mostly in Qoms, the same city where some earlier cases had been detected, while also reporting that the virus has reached Tehran, according to Reuters. So far, seven Iranians have been diagnosed in Qom, four in Tehran and two in Gilan, according to a tweet from the Iranian health ministry. Iranian officials have acknowledged the possibility that the virus might have arrived in every major Iranian city.

Even in Korea, health officials say they their investigators can’t figure out how some of the outbreaks started. That’s not exactly reassuring.

Right now, the focus is on South Korea. Last week, it briefly shifted to the UK before moving on to Japan. Italy just reported another three cases, doubling its count from 3 to six. Will they be next? Maybe Africa?

WHO DUBS CORONAVIRUS ‘PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1’

WHO Dubs Coronavirus 'Public Enemy Number 1'

Death toll rises as virus continues global spread

Deutsche Welle – FEBRUARY 12, 2020

More than 1,000 people have so far lost their lives to the new coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on the world to act and warned that “a virus is more powerful in creating political, economic, and socialist upheaval than any terrorist attack.”

“If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons,” he said. “It’s the number one enemy to the whole world, and to the whole of humanity.”

CAP

The number of fatalities from the virus reached 1,113 on Wednesday after China’s hardest-hit Hubei province reported 94 new deaths and three more were reported elsewhere in the mainland. In its daily update, the province’s health commission also confirmed another 2,105 new cases on Tuesday, the lowest since January 30.

Ghebreyesus, who previously served as the Ethiopian foreign minister, called on investing in prevention measures and helping countries with weaker health systems, He warned that “if this virus makes to (a country with) a weaker health system, it will wreak havoc.”

“For now it doesn’t seem so, but it doesn’t mean it will not happen. It may,” he said.

The virus has already paralyzed China’s economy as many large companies urged their employees to stay at home in order to curb the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, an additional 39 cases have been reported on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was being quarantined for a second week off the coast of Japan.

The new reports bring the total number of cases on the ship, which has 3,700 passengers and crew on board, to 174. A quarantine officer was also found to be infected with the virus.

COVID-19

The WHO chief also announced a new official name for the disease, saying that the agency has dubbed it COVID-19.

The “CO” stands for “corona”, “VI” stands for “virus”, “D” for disease, and “19” for the year 2019, as the virus was first officially confirmed in December last year, according to Ghebreyesus.

The UN health agency intentionally avoided names that could be linked to a geographical region, an animal, or a group of people, he said.

‘We are not defenseless’

The WHO is currently hosting a conference of 400 medical experts who should prepare a “roadmap” for the outbreak response, including discussion on possible treatments.

“They will take time to develop, but in the meantime, we are not defenseless,” Ghebreyesus said, noting that a first vaccine “could be ready in 18 months.”

CAP

Ghebreyesus also recommended washing your hands, keeping at a distance from people who are coughing, and — if you are coughing yourself — covering your mouth with a tissue or your elbow.

There are now more than 44,200 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government.

Separately, Chinese epidemiologist and senior medical advisor Zhong Nanshan told the Reuters news agency that the outbreak would likely peak before the end of February.

“I hope this outbreak or this event may be over in something like April,” said the 83-year-old Zhong, who was also involved in fighting the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.

W.H.O. DEMANDS ‘GRATITUDE AND RESPECT’ FOR CHINESE DICTATOR’S CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE

W.H.O. Demands ‘Gratitude And Respect’ For Chinese Dictator's Coronavirus Response

Bizarre comments from Director-General as it becomes clear Communists have lied about scale of global pandemic

Steve Watson  – JANUARY 31, 2020

The World Health Organisation asked Thursday that China be shown “gratitude and respect” for its handling of the deadly novel coronavirus, despite the the widespread belief among health experts and government officials that the Communist state has been covering up the true scale of the outbreak to save face.

After meeting with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared that China needs to be applauded for the “extraordinary steps it has taken to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.”

“China is implementing very serious measures and we cannot ask for more,” Ghebreyesus said, adding “I was very encouraged and impressed by the president’s detailed knowledge of the outbreak and his personal involvement in the outbreak.”

“This was for me a very rare leadership,” Ghebreyesus proclaimed, as the WHO declared the outbreak to be an international health emergency.

Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian health minister, also bizarrely praised China’s “transparency,” stating that “China has been completely committed to transparency, both internally and externally, and has agreed to work with other countries that need support.”

The fawning continued as the Director-General urged that “The level of commitment in China is incredible; I will praise China again and again, because its actions actually helped in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus to other countries … we shall tell the truth and that’s the truth.”

It’s a version of ‘truth’ that not even the Wall Street Journal is on board with, however, given that it has documented how the reality of the situation is being suppressed.

According to the Chinese government, there are now 9,692 confirmed coronavirus cases in China, and the official death toll has risen to 213.

The real death toll appears to be much higher, however, given that those who have succumbed to “severe pneumonia” are not being classed as coronavirus deaths.

In addition, large numbers of victims are still being classified as “suspected cases” despite it being extremely obvious that they have the virus.

The true scale of the situation is not yet known, yet researchers at the University of Hong Kong have estimated that there could be 44,000 victims already.

A model that predicts the number of coronavirus infections that will occur if the outbreak isn’t contained shows that based on current projections, there will be over 183 million infections before the end of February.

Whatever the case, it is quite clear that the Chinese authorities have been anything but transparent, thus it is completely backwards for the World Health Organisation to demand the country’s leaders be afforded any ‘gratitude and respect’.

World Health Organization Chief Blames ‘Human Error’ on Calling Coronavirus Threat ‘Moderate’

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus briefs the press on evolution of new coronavirus epidemic on January 29, 2020 in Geneva. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

By JOSHUA CAPLAN

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus blamed “human error” on Wednesday for the United Nations agency initially downplaying the global threat of the deadly coronavirus.

WHO is walking back its assessment after publishing a report this week, in which it called the risk surrounding the killer Chinese illness “moderate.”

WHO deeply regrets the error in this week’s situation report, which inserted the word ‘moderate’ inaccurately in the #coronavirus global risk assessment,” Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “This was a human error in preparing the report. I have repeatedly stated the high risk of the outbreak.”

CAP

The striking admission comes after Ghebreyesus met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and praised the communist government’s measures against the killer virus. 

Breitbart News reported:

Ghebreyesus said his organization is advising foreign countries that evacuating their citizens from Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province is unnecessary. Chinese state media eagerly promoted his remarks in a bid to control the political fallout from the outbreak.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi acted quickly to capitalize politically on the WHO director’s comments.

“With the strong leadership of comrade Xi Jinping and the advantage of the socialist system, as well as the experience from SARS, we are more resolute in tackling this epidemic with more forceful and quicker action. We are totally confident that we have the ability and resources to defeat this epidemic,” he said.

While the WHO has been quick to praise China over its handling of the coronavirus, Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) have expressed doubt about Beijing’s quarantine measures and transparency. In a Tuesday letter to top Trump administration officials, Cotton urged the federal government to institute a “target travel ban” on China.

“Given the latest developments and the many unknowns about this virus, we ought to follow Benjamin Franklin’s maxim: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. America is blessed with world-leading researchers and laboratories on the cutting edge of medical science and epidemiology,” he wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolfe. “Working in tandem with them, I’m confident our federal research agencies can develop a vaccine in record time.”

The U.S. has expanded screenings to 20 airports around the country and CDC officials said they are racing to develop a vaccine to treat the virus.

United Airlines and American Airlines announced this week that the airlines have canceled several flights from the U.S. to China, citing health concerns and a sharp decline in demand.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑