Ireland First American Dies of Coronavirus, Raising Questions About U.S. Response
1st US person-to-person coronavirus transmission reported in Illinois
The World Health Organization will decide whether or not to declare the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. The organization deliberated for two days last week on the same issue but declined to declare a global emergency at the time. Since then, however, patients from Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus without having visited China. The new coronavirus is in the same family of viruses as the common cold and SARS.
SHANGHAI — A United States citizen died from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, American officials said on Saturday. It was the first known American death from the illness, and was likely to add to diplomatic friction over Beijing’s response to the epidemic.
The death is also certain to raise questions over whether the Trump administration and the State Department in particular have taken sufficient action to ensure the safety of Americans in China and to aid in the evacuation of those who want to leave.
Corona, the beer company, says it trusts customers not to link its drinks to the deadly Wuhan coronavirus as searches for 'corona beer virus' rocket
Google searches for "corona beer virus," "beer virus," and "beer coronavirus" have skyrocketed globally since January 18. Online searches for "corona beer virus," "beer virus," and "beer coronavirus" have rocketed around the world since January 18, in an apparent confusion that the drink and the virus are linked.
In a statement, the State Department took a defensive tone, saying that since Jan. 29, it had evacuated around 850 people, most of them Americans, on five charter flights out of Wuhan.
The agency said it had “no higher priority than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad,” but there are no current plans to conduct additional evacuation flights, even as some Americans in other parts of China have been asking for the United States government to evacuate them.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have been tense for years over issues including trade, technology and human rights. While Chinese officials have touted the importance of international cooperation to combat the virus, doubts have arisen in recent days about China’s willingness to accept a helping hand — particularly from the United States.
Doctor predicts up to 20,000 Irish people at risk of coronavirus within weeks
Fears that the coronavirus hitting our shores is reaching critical levels and a Dublin doctor is optimistic about Ireland’s chances in combatting an outbreak in Ireland. Beaumont Hospital’s Professor Sam McConkey has predicted that up to 20,000 Irish people are at risk of catching the virus and data from China has shown that 2 per cent of people diagnosed may die.
Though some Trump administration officials have privately expressed skepticism over China’s handling of the outbreak, President Trump himself lavished praise on Chinese leaders on Friday. Mr. Trump told reporters in Washington that he had spoken with President Xi Jinping of China on the telephone late Thursday. “They’re working really hard and I think they’re doing a very professional job,” he said.
Mr. Trump has said often that he likes and admires Mr. Xi, and he has toned down his attacks on China since the two sides signed an agreement last month to halt a damaging trade war that Mr. Trump started in 2018.
Few details about the American, who died on Thursday, were immediately available. According to the United States Embassy in Beijing, the person was 60 years old and died at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, the inland metropolis at the center of the epidemic. Two people familiar with the matter said the person was a woman and had underlying health conditions.
BREAKING: Passenger displaying Coronavirus symptoms taken from plane in Dublin Airport
Other passengers on the flight were held for up to an hour before being let go on to their next destinations .Each of them was given a leaflet informing them of the potential Coronavirus case and advising them to "avoid contact with other people" tonight and ring 99 if they later display symptoms.It read: "You have been on a flight from Moscow today with a possible case of novel Coronavirus."Please avoid contact with other people as much as possible tonight.
It was not clear whether the woman had tried to leave the city on any of the flights organized by the State Department, which have evacuated diplomats and other American citizens from Wuhan, Beijing and other parts of China.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” a spokesman for the United States Embassy in Beijing said. “Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.”
Word of the death spread as frustrations over Beijing’s handling of the epidemic mounted within China and surfaced at the diplomatic level as well. The virus has killed at least 700 people in China, sickened thousands more and spread across the globe.
For more than a month, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been offering to send a team of experts to China to observe the outbreak and help if possible. But no invitation has come.
The World Health Organization, which made a similar offer about two weeks ago, appeared to have faced the same cold shoulder. But the agency said Saturday that it had identified a team of experts to go to China and that the team’s leader would go on Monday or Tuesday, with the rest of the team following later.
Irish to track deadly virus for months
Summer flights scheduled to link China and Dublin will be assessed by Irish health officials who expect to spend months monitoring the spread of the deadly coronavirus. At present, there are no direct flights between Irish airports and China, but a new service between Dublin and Shanghai, with a stop each way in Helsinki, starts in March. Meanwhile, flights to Beijing are set to resume in the summer.
Current and former health officials and diplomats said they believed the reluctance came from China’s top leaders, who do not want the world to think they need outside help.
Within China, public discontent about the government’s response to the crisis reached an extraordinary peak on Friday after the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, who had warned his colleagues early on about the new virus but was reprimanded for illegally spreading rumors.
After Dr. Li’s death, grieving internet users posted messages expressing anger over his treatment and demanding freedom of speech — unheard-of in China’s authoritarian political system.
Communist Party officials said Friday that they would send a team from the powerful anticorruption committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding Dr. Li’s death. Chinese state news media reported Saturday that the government was also sending two senior officials to Wuhan to reinforce efforts to bring the outbreak under control.
It was not immediately clear if the appointments on Saturday amounted to a reshuffling of the local leadership or were simply an effort to reinforce officials on the front line. Still, it appeared to be an acknowledgment that the authorities in Wuhan had been overwhelmed.
Japan said Saturday that one of its citizens had died in a Wuhan hospital from a suspected case of the coronavirus. But the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that based on information it received from Chinese authorities, it could not confirm whether the man, who was in his 60s, had been infected with the new virus. The ministry called the cause of death viral pneumonia.
Another plane to bring Britons home from coronavirus epicentre
Another plane will be sent to China to collect British nationals as the coronavirus continues to spread, Sky News understands. Earlier, the Foreign Office advised the 30,000 British nationals thought to be in China, where the virus originated, to leave if they are able to.It warned that, as the Chinese government tightens travel restrictions in an effort to stop the virus spreading, departure options "may become harder to access".British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have since suspended UK-China flights.
China’s Foreign Ministry said this past week that as of noon Thursday, 19 foreign nationals in the country had been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. Two of them had recovered and were discharged from the hospital. The other 17 were still receiving treatment.
As the virus spreads, China is confronting a growing sense of isolation — a stark reversal for the country after decades of economic and diplomatic integration with the rest of the world. Many countries, including the United States, have placed entry restrictions on travelers from China. Airlines have canceled flights. Fears of the virus have fueled anti-Chinese racism in some parts of the world.
Chinese officials have criticized the United States both for evacuating Americans from China and for imposing travel curbs, saying that such moves could spread panic. On Friday, Mr. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to be trying to ease tensions.
Mr. Pompeo said the United States was prepared to spend up to $100 million to help China and other countries fight the epidemic. Mr. Pompeo also said the State Department had helped transport about 18 tons of donated medical supplies, including masks, gowns and gauze, to China in the past week.
Mr. Trump praised China’s handling of the crisis on a phone call with Mr. Xi on Friday. And in a pair of Twitter posts, Mr. Trump said Mr. Xi was leading “what will be a very successful operation.”
“He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus,” Mr. Trump wrote.
But other American officials have quietly voiced concerns about China’s response to the epidemic. The confirmation on Friday that repeated offers of help to China had been ignored only deepened the sense of worry.
Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, said at a news briefing on Friday that he had recently reiterated the C.D.C. offer to his Chinese counterpart, Dr. Ma Xiaowei.
Asked about the holdup, Mr. Azar said: “It’s up to the Chinese. We continue to expect fully that President Xi will accept our offer. We’re ready and willing and able to go.”
In its statement on the death of the American in Wuhan, the State Department said American citizens should heed its Feb. 2 advisory not to travel to China. “We are working around the clock to inform U.S. travelers of the risks related to the novel coronavirus, to assist Americans in need, and to combat the spread of this outbreak,” it said.
To demonstrate that its evacuation flights appeared to have met immediate needs of Americans in Wuhan, the agency said its last charter flight, on Thursday, had extra seats after accommodating all Americans on the manifest, so officials were able to offer seats to more than 30 Canadians.
Motoko Rich and Hisako Ueno contributed reporting from Tokyo, and Steven Lee Myers from Beijing. Claire Fu contributed research.
Coronavirus 'serious and imminent threat' to British public .
The spread of coronavirus is a "serious and imminent threat" to the British public, the health secretary has said. The announcement by Matt Hancock gives the government additional powers to fight the spread of the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China and has been confirmed in four people in the UK.A Department of Health statement said: "The Secretary of State has made regulations to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus.
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