Coronavirus Update: U.S. Bars Foreigners, Chinese City Quarantines Residents, 76,000 Cases in Wuhan?

By Paul Riegler on 1 February 2020
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A street in Chengdu, China, before the outbreak

A report by scientists in Hong Kong suggests that the total number of people in Wuhan infected by the novel coronavirus could be as high as 75,815.  Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus is now up to 11,791, according to figures reported by officials in China. Over 259 have died from the virus thus far, all of them in China.

The research, published in the Lancet on Saturday, is based on the assumption that each infected person could have passed the virus on to 2.68 others.  The total of 75,815 is based on the number of confirmed cases as of last Tuesday and that figure has risen sharply since then.

Officials in the Hubei province are taking new steps to contain the virus.  The city of Huanggang, which has a population of 7.4 million people, imposed restrictions on when residents may leave their homes.  Under the new rules, one member of the household may leave every two days in order to purchase food and other necessities but residents must otherwise remain at home.

Meanwhile, the United States is barring any foreign national who has traveled to China in the past 14 days from entering the United States. The temporary rule exempts immediate family members of American citizens and permanent residents.  The move follows Thursday’s declaration by the World Health Organization of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 travel advisory telling Americans not to travel to China, also following the WHO announcement.  The Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warning from the State Department is the agency’s most severe, placing China on the same list as North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Venezuela.

The United States will limit inbound flights from China to three airports, namely New York’s John F. Kennedy International, Chicago’s O’Hare International, and San Francisco International.  Any U.S. citizen returning from the Hubei province will be subject to 14 days of quarantine upon arrival.  Those arriving from other parts of China will be subject to “proactive entry screening” and up to 14 days of monitoring and self-quarantine.

The three largest airlines in the United States – American, United, and Delta – suspended all flights to mainland China on Friday.

Earlier in the week, Singapore, which has 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, announced a ban on Chinese visitors and any foreigners who had been in China over the past 14 days.  In addition, the government of Mongolia said it would close its border with China to prevent importation of the virus.  Mongolia is located between China and Russia.

Russia confirmed its first cases of the virus and said it would close its border with Mongolia.  It had closed its 2,485-mile (4,000-kilometer) far-eastern border with China on Thursday.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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