The Virus Can Be Stopped, but Only With Harsh Steps, Experts Say
Terrifying though the coronavirus may be, it can be turned back. China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have demonstrated that, with furious efforts, the contagion can be brought to heel. Whether they can keep it suppressed remains to be seen. But for the United States to repeat their successes will take extraordinary levels of coordination and money from the country’s leaders, and extraordinary levels of trust and cooperation from citizens. It will also require international partnerships in an interconnected world.
In late February, as coronavirus infections mounted in Wuhan, China, local authorities went door-to-door for health checks – forcibly isolating every resident in makeshift hospitals and temporary quarantine shelters, even separating parents from young children who displayed symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how seemingly mild.
Caretakers at the city's ubiquitous large apartment buildings were pressed into service as ad hoc security guards, monitoring the temperatures of all residents, deciding who could come in, and implementing inspections of delivered food and medicines. =
The Spanish flu devastated Alaska. This time with coronavirus, villages aren't taking any chances.
The coronavirus outbreak is raising heartbreaking memories for many Alaska Native villages devastated by the Spanish flu.Taking a cue from drastic measures imposed during the 1918-1919 flu outbreak that spread via mail carrier and traders to remote villages, the 200-person village of Grayling on the Yukon River has banned all visitors and is mandating that anyone who leaves during the outbreak be quarantined for 30 days. Other villages are taking similar steps by banning all flights except for in the case of medical emergencies.
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Outside, drones hovered above streets, yelling at people to get inside and scolding them for not wearing face masks, while elsewhere in China facial-recognition software, linked to a mandatory phone app that color-coded people based on their contagion risk, decided who could enter shopping malls, subways, cafes and other public spaces.
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"We couldn't go outside under any circumstances. Not even if you have a pet," said Wang Jingjun, 27, a graduate student who returned to Wuhan from the Chinese coastal province of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong and Macau, in mid-January to live with her elderly mother and grandparents. "Those with dogs had to play with them inside and teach them to use the bathroom in a certain spot," she said.
From New York City to St. Augustine, fever charting shows social distancing is 'breaking the chain' of coronavirus infections
An analysis of some 1M digital thermometers show the number of people with flu-like illness dropped in places with strict social distancing orders.Data from health technology company Kinsa, which did the analysis using its digital thermometers, show the number of people with flu-like illness — atypical fever and symptoms — began dropping almost immediately after mandatory social distancing measures were implemented in some areas.
China’s zero contact: ‘It seems extreme. It works’
As the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic has moved to the United States, Chinese officials and public health experts insist that even if President Donald Trump were to immediately adopt all the strict testing and lockdown measures that Western scientific advisers are advocating, these actions would still not be sufficient to stem the spread of a disease that is swiftly approaching a million worldwide cases.
Mike Pompeo: Americans abroad wanting to return home should 'do so immediately'
More draconian steps are needed in the U.S., these officials say, although they also cast doubt on whether Americans could do what the Chinese did, for a mixture of reasons: political will and deep-rooted cultural inclinations, among them.
The coronavirus test that wasn’t: How federal health officials misled state scientists and derailed the best chance at containment
The CDC botched the coronavirus test. The FDA took weeks to allow others to fix it. Those delays contributed to the current crisis.Confirmed cases in New York City, where hospitals have fallen into chaos as resources run thin, on Thursday surpassed Beadle’s entire population of 18,500. With too few tests for too many cases, doctors there already had been told it no longer made sense to test most ill patients.
News to stay informed. Advice to stay safe. Click here for complete coronavirus coverage from Microsoft News
To help quell its outbreak, Beijing embarked on one of the largest mass mobilization efforts in history, closing all schools, forcing millions of people inside, quickly building more than a dozen vast temporary hospitals, deploying thousands of extra medical staff to Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province, and meticulously testing and tracing anyone and everyone who may have encountered the virus.
But it did a lot more than that.
"Lockdowns, bans on gatherings, basic quarantines, testing, hand-washing, this is not enough," Huiyao Wang, a senior adviser to China's government, told USA TODAY in a phone interview from Beijing. "You need to isolate people on an enormous scale, in stadiums, big exhibition halls, wherever you can. It seems extreme. It works," he said.
The COVID-19 outbreak, which the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic, continues to claim lives around the world.
Empire State Building shines flashing red to honor medical workers amid coronavirus
Each night through Thursday, the light will sync up to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind." The flashing light was met with mixed response.The spectacle, which was met with both alarm and gratitude on social media, is intended to resemble a “heartbeat,” according to a statement from the building’s owners.
(Pictured) Rainbow messages of support and thanks are seen attached to school railings at Isleworth Town school, as the spread of the coronavirus continues, in London, England, on April 1.
Buddhist monks wear face shields amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 as they collect alms on April 1, in Bangkok, Thailand.
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The seating in the Landtag was supplemented for the Landtag session by additional chairs behind the actual rows of parliamentary parties in order to maintain the minimum distance between people required due to the Corona crisis, on April 1, in Brandenburg, Potsdam.
Workers use sewing machines to manufacture protective suits at a garment factory during the lockdown imposed by the government amid concerns about the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in Dhaka. Bangladesh, on March 31. Bangladesh has confirmed 51 cases, with 5 deaths, according to the IEDCR officials.
Mountain goats roam the streets of LLandudno on March 31, in Wales. The goats normally live on the rocky Great Orme but are occasional visitors to the seaside town, but a local Councillor told the BBC that the herd was drawn this time by the lack of people and tourists due to the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine measures.
Wuhan ends 76-day lockdown; Emotional toll of virus surges
The economic, political and psychological toll of fighting the virus is becoming clear.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in intensive care, the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19. His condition was stable, the 55-year-old leader was receiving oxygen but was not on a ventilator, officials said.
Palestinian artist Ameer Abu Ghalioon plays music dressed as a clown under the windows of Palestinian families keeping the confinement in the divided West bank town of Hebron on March 31, during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis.
A healthcare worker visits an emergency field hospital in Central Park during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, on March 31.
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A police officer wearing a protective mask walks across Red Square, after the city authorities announced a partial lockdown ordering residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during snowfall in Moscow, Russia on March 31.
Neighbors line up for free food staples outside Santa Ana primary school in Asuncion, Paraguay, on March 31, as part of an already existing food program through the Education Ministry, as people stay home from work amid the spread of the new coronavirus.
Crew members are seen as the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship enters the harbour where South African crew members are to alight after having tested negative for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Durban, South Africa, on March 31.
A yard sign reminds neighbors about good social distancing practices during the COVID-19 pandemic on March 31, in Lakewood, Colorado.
Prison, hefty fines await suspects who cough, spit on cops to spread coronavirus
Spitting, coughing on officers to spread coronavirus is considered a terroristic threat that brings five to 10 years in prison.They arrived at about 11:15 a.m. and asked Marina Bishara-Rhone, 25, to step outside and talk, said borough Police Chief Tom Cariddi. That's when Bishara-Rhone walked by one of the officers, turned and coughed in his face, Cariddi said.
A woman takes photographs of the Tokyo Olympic Games countdown clock, which has been restarted in front of the JR Tokyo Station on March 31, in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo Olympic Games will be held between July 23 to August 8 in 2021 while the Paralympic Games will be between August 24 and September 5.
A field hospital is set up by Rio de Janeiro state government, amid a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, next to the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 31.
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Fitness coach Sebastien Manko gives a lesson from the street to elderly people attending from the balconies of their retirement home in Bordeaux, France on March 31, as the country is under lockdown to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.
People stand on circles marked on the ground to maintain social distancing as they wait to collect a free dry ration from the Saylani Welfare Trust during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Quetta, Pakistan on March 31.
Health officials spray disinfectant in a Kampung Baru, traditional Malay village, in Kuala Lumpur city center as a safety precaution against the new coronavirus, on March 31. The Malaysian government issued a restricted movement order to the public for the rest of the month to help curb the spread of the virus.
People wearing face masks are practicing social distancing as they wait outside a Postal Savings Bank of China branch on March 31 in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of China's coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Residents, wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, practise social distancing as they wait to be tested at a makeshift rapid testing centre near the Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi on March 31.
A policeman (L) gestures as men wearing protective facemasks walk to board a special service bus taking them to a quarantine facility amid concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi on March 31. 24 who were at Nizamuddin markaz test positive in Delhi.
The pyramid of Khufu, the largest of the Giza pyramid complex, is illuminated with text encouraging to stay home, as Egypt ramps up its efforts to slow down the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, on March 30.
A municipal worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant on a Public Health Inspector during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 in Colombo on March 31.
Police officers wearing face masks guard the rear entrance of the Urban Newtown hotel where quarantined Australian travelers who have landed back into Sydney will remain for 14 days on March 31 in Sydney, Australia. Public gatherings are now limited to two people, as the Australian Government introduces tougher restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday told Australians to stay home unless they are shopping for food, receiving medical attention, going to work or education, or for exercise, which is now limited to groups of two. People over 70 have been told to remain inside while public areas such as playgrounds, outside gyms and skateparks will be closed from midday on Monday. International arrivals into Australia are being quarantined in hotels on arrival.
Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort travels under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge as it heads to Pier 90 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to overwhelm medical infrastructure on March 30 seen from Bayridge, Brooklyn In New York City. Docked at Pier 90 on the West Side of Manhattan the hospital ship will provide another thousand beds for non-COVID-19 patients.
(Pictured) A man walks his dog past graffiti calling for people to wash their hands to combat the spread of the coronavirus, in Belfast, Northern Ireland on March, 30.
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No country or scientist or doctor has all the answers about the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the globe. Tiny Iceland may have more than most.No country or scientist or doctor has all the answers about the pandemic that has swept the globe, infecting more than 1.6 million people and killing at least 95,000.
Students arrive at a school as grade three students in middle school and high school return after the term opening was delayed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, in Huaian in China's eastern Jiangsu province on March 30.
A teddy bear dressed as a Highlanders Super Rugby fan is seen in a window on March 29 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Inspired by the Michael Rosen children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, teddy bears and other cuddly toys are popping up in windows across New Zealand to give children something to look forward to on their neighborhood walks during the lockdown.
A man walks past on a nearly empty street in snowfall during the first weekend after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged Tokyo residents to stay indoors in a bid to keep the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from spreading, at Ameyoko shopping and amusement district in Tokyo, Japan on March 29.
A health worker of Nepal police wearing PPE (Personal protective equipment) disinfects quarantine zone at Nepal police hospital in Kathmandu, on March 29. Nepal police have prepared 45 quarantine tent and 6 isolation observation bed and 5 isolation bed for possible of Coronavirus Covid-19 cases for police personnel.
Two passengers wave small Swiss national flags after disembarking from a flight of the Swiss International Air Lines at the Geneve Aeroport, in Switzerland, on March 29. The flight was chartered by the Swiss government to bring 105 Swiss citizens and 12 nationalities from Algiers to Switzerland as a precaution measure.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence on March 24 in Ottawa, Canada. Trudeau's wife has recovered from being ill from COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus.
A health worker with a bag of protective masks delivered by the police. Health workers are seen during the tribute to health services and Police held every day at 20:00 hours at hospital San Jorge, where several hospitalized by Covid-19 remain on March 28 in Huesca, Spain. Spain plans to continue its quarantine measures at least through April 11.
A view of the Sicilian town of Acitrezza from a Guardia di Finanza (finance police) helicopter as officers patrol citizens. Italy has tightened measures to try and contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Acitrezza, Italy on March 28.
"'No one left behind' was the slogan in Wuhan," he said. "No one."
In the U.S., Trump has urged Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and suggested the worst-affected states should shutter schools, bars and restaurants.
But overall, he has largely left it to individual states and cities to decide whether to close businesses or explicitly order people to stay at home, despite evidence from countries in Asia, such as China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, that aggressively limiting public gatherings and social interactions can help stop transmission of COVID-19, when done in combination with extensive testing and tracing of the disease.
Fact check: Can Trump use the Stafford Act to order a mandatory 2-week quarantine?
Trump has said he expects to see U.S. cases peak "around Easter," although his claims about how quickly the U.S. can overcome the outbreak and bounce back appear to contradict assessments from top health officials, such as Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fact check: Study projects coronavirus peak, then moves the dates
With New York City the new locus of the outbreak, Trump announced on March 29 an extension of federal guidance on social-distancing measures through April and issued a "strong travel advisory" urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days to help limit the spread of the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the new restrictions would help to slow the spread of the respiratory illness, which has now infected almost 190,000 Americans and killed more than 4,000. The daily death toll in the U.S. may not dip below 100 per day before June, according to a new study by the University of Washington.
Africa's paradox: It may be the worst and best place to ride out coronavirus
While it may be too early to draw definitive conclusions about how to respond to COVID-19, some countries have taken actions that appear to yield results, while others struggle. These countries are doing the best/worst at fighting the virus. https://t.co/Am5lQnCG6a@khjelmgaard
— nicole carroll (@nicole_carroll) March 30, 2020
China’s nationwide response vs. America’s patchwork
Wang, the Chinese government adviser, said the example of Wuhan, where authorities have now started lifting some of their stringent anti-virus controls that kept tens of millions of people at home for two months, illustrates that the U.S. and West more generally need to start taking far more radical virus-dampening actions that many people outside China might find culturally, logistically and emotionally unpalatable.
"It was not just families being isolated together in Wuhan, but individuals being isolated away from their friends and families," said Andy Mok, a fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, a public policy think tank based in Beijing.
"China's response to the outbreak was truly a nationwide response: systematic, comprehensive and coordinated," he said. "This is why China was able to 'flatten the curve' so dramatically," he added, referring to social isolation measures aimed at keeping the number of new coronavirus infections at a manageable level for hospitals and medical workers who would otherwise be overwhelmed with sick patients.
Poorest will suffer: Safety-net health clinics cut services amid coronavirus epidemic
Mok said that even in Beijing, about 750 miles north of Wuhan, new coronavirus rules were established requiring residents to have a formal pass to get in and out of their apartment buildings and homes. At the outbreak's height in Wuhan, nobody was allowed in or out of the city and access to food stores was limited to once every few days.
Video footage published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the country's state-funded broadcaster, showed Chinese authorities in Wuhan welding doors to entire apartment buildings – with residents inside – shut to enforce quarantines. The footage, collected from Chinese social media users, could not be verified by USA TODAY.
Mok questioned whether Americans, raised on a diet of individualism and civil liberties that has informed every aspect of life from travel to economic institutions, would be willing to abide by invasive virus-detection and containment methods that require a strong commitment to "collectivism" and abridged freedoms.
Global action: Great Recession showed nations can’t fight coronavirus crisis alone
Europe has adopted some, but not all, of China’s most restrictive steps. In France, for example, residents must fill out of a signed attestation to justify leaving their homes or apartments. Police are handing out large fines for anyone who doesn’t follow the rules.
"It's a very clever form of social engineering for civic purposes: it forces you to think about and justify to yourself as well as to the world why you are leaving the house," said Sarah Maza, a French history professor and U.S. citizen living in France for the year.
Yang Junchao, a member of a Chinese delegation of COVID-19 doctors and medical experts assisting Italy's efforts at halting its coronavirus infections – the worst in Europe – said its epidemic will be controlled "as long as the Italian public cooperates."
Still, some American public health officials have acknowledged that in order to bring the virus under control – outside of a vaccine breakthrough – actions that overstep the bounds of what most Americans would be comfortable with, such as mass quarantines and other severe restrictions on movement, may be necessary.
"The approach we should be taking right now is one that most people would find to be too drastic because otherwise, it is not drastic enough," said Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, in a recent USA TODAY interview.
"It may be a country like China has a more top-down ability to insist on certain behavior changes. But we ought to be able to do it in our way, in a bottom-up fashion," he said.
NIH chief Francis Collins on COVID-19: Q&A with top U.S. health official
Migrant workers wait for lunch at a camp set up by Delhi Government during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in New Delhi on April 1, 2020.
A medical staff watches from a platform of the Gare d'Austerlitz train station on April 1, 2020 in Paris through the window of a medicalized TGV high speed train before its departure to evacuate patients infected with the COVID-19 from Paris' region hospitals to other hospitals in the western France Brittany region where the outbreak has been limited so far. France has been on lockdown since March 17 in a bid to limit the contagion caused by the novel coronavirus, a situation it has extended until at least April 15.
A woman stitches protective face masks used to curb the spread of the coronavirus at a former clothing factory in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 1, 2020. Last week the Afghan government ordered a three-week lock down for Kabul to stem the spread of the virus.
A woman piles up toilet paper at a a 'toilet paper drive in' in Dornburg, Germany, April 1, 2020. After panic buying due to the coronavirus outbreak toilet paper has become rare and the owner of a pet food shop was able to order thousands of rolls of toilet paper which he sells now outside of his shop.
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People keep their bags inside marked areas on a street as they wait to receive free rice distributed at a government store during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Hyderabad, India on April 1, 2020.
An employee wearing a protective face mask disinfects shopping carts for customers arriving to shop at a supermarket in Vienna, Austria on April 1, 2020, during the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The Austrian government announced that shoppers in supermarkets will have to wear face masks in order to further clamp down on the spread of the novel coronavirus.
New employees of Japan's defense ministry sit on chairs spaced apart for social distancing due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, as they watch a video message of Defense Minister Taro Kono during a ceremony in Tokyo on April 1, 2020.
A resident stops to look at a medical worker dressed from head to toe in protective gear outside the Plaza de Toros de Acho in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The mayor of Lima reported that the plaza founded in 1766 will provide shelter and balanced meals for some of the city's homeless amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
A volunteer sprays disinfectant in Shwedagon Pagoda compound as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Yangon on March 31, 2020. Myanmar reported its first coronavirus death a 69-year-old man who returned to the country in mid-March after receiving cancer treatment in Australia.
A staff member of the Congolese Ministry of Health prepares the sampling equipment to perform a COVID-19 test at a private residence in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, on March 31, 2020. One positive case of COVID-19 coronavirus was reported on March 30, 2020 in Goma, a city of more than one million inhabitants, bringing the total for the Democratic Republic of Congo to 98 positive COVID-19 cases including 8 deaths.
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People wearing face masks ride an escalator near a winged statue at an upscale shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. China on Tuesday reported just one new death from the coronavirus and a few dozen new cases, all brought from overseas.
Motorists are sprayed with disinfectant in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus outbreak at the gate of a housing complex in South Tangerang, Indonesia, March 31, 2020. Indonesia will close its doors to foreign arrivals in an attempt to curb the coronavirus spread while the country plans to bring home more than a million nationals working abroad.
Passengers wearing face masks practisc social distancing sitting arrangement as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in a train at the Central Railway Station in Bangkok on March 31, 2020.
Police use riot shields to practice social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at a police station in Bangkok, Thailand on March 30, 2020.
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Municipal workers spray disinfectant on a trees and closed shops at a roadside during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Srinagar on March 30, 2020.
A a message demanding the people to go home is sprayed on the ground of Alexanderplatz square in Berlin, Germany, March 30, 2020. In order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the German government has considerably restricted public life and asked the citizens to stay at home.
A tourist takes a selfie on the deserted Red square with the Saint Basil's Cathedral and Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower in the background on March 30, 2020 in Moscow as the city and its surrounding regions imposed lockdowns today, that were being followed by other Russian regions in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 infection caused by the novel coronavirus. The enforcement of the strict new rules, which Moscow Mayor suddenly announced for the capital late Sunday, coincide with the beginning of a "non-working" week declared by Russian President the week before.
Passengers from the COVID-19 coronavirus infected cruise ship MV Artania berthed at the port of Fremantle are transferred in a bus to Perth International Airport to be transported to Germany, in Perth on March 29, 2020.
A worker arranges beds to prepare a quarantine centre in an indoor stadium at the Sarusajai Sports Complex during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Guwahati on March 29, 2020.
Police inspector Rajesh Babu, wearing coronavirus-themed helmet, speaks to a family on a motorbike at a checkpoint during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Chennai, India, on March 28, 2020.
A member of the South African Police Service enforces social distancing as he makes shoppers hold their hands out in front of them to ensure that they are at least one meter apart from one another while they wait outside a supermarket in Yeoville, Johannesburg, on March 28, 2020.
Members of the Charitable Brotherhood of Saint-Eloi de Bethune, each wearing a face mask, carry a coffin towards a grave, at Pierrette cemetery in Bethune, on March 27, 2020, as the country is under lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. Founded in 1188, the Charitables have for eight centuries taken care of funerals for the inhabitants of Bethune regardless of religion or wealth. Rarely, though, are they done behind almost-closed doors.
The iconic Matterhorn mountain is illuminated by Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter aiming to send messages of hope, support and solidarity to people suffering from the global coronavirus disease, COVID-19, pandemic in the alpine resort of Zermatt, Switzerland, Thursday, March 26, 2020.
A doctor (L) shows the welcome desk of a consultation center dedicated to covid19 suspected patients in Tinteniac, France on March 27, 2020. The consultation center is located in an intermunicipal venue to remove patients at risk of infection from doctors' offices in order to continue caring for other patients.
Suspects are lined up against a wall as a member of the South African Police Service wearing gloves arrests them because they defied the lockdown order during an operation in Johannesburg, on March 27, 2020. South Africa came under a nationwide military-patrolled lockdown on March 27, 2020, joining other African countries imposing strict curfews and shutdowns in an attempt to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus across the continent.
People in protective clothing walk past rows of beds at a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for COVID-19 coronavirus patients set up by the Iranian army at the international exhibition center in northern Tehran, Iran, on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Health ministry workers, wearing protective outfits, wait on the tarmac of the Kuwait international Airport to receive Kuwaitis returning from Frankfurt on March 26, 2020, to be taken to a hospital for novel coronavirus checkups, in the capital Kuwait City.
An opera tenor singer performs the song O sole mio from his window in Paris on March 26, 2020 on the evening of the tenth day of a strict lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus.
The just married couple Laila and Boualem Bellil walk in the Stall Courtyard, a most frequented tourist spot, in Dresden, eastern Germany, Thursday, March 26, 2020. They celebrate today without wedding guests because of the government regulations and want to make up for the party next year. In order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the German government has considerably restricted public life and asked the citizens to stay at home. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
A man exercises at his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, March 26, 2020. The Argentine government ordered a forced lock down until end of March to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. COVID-19 disease causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
Members of the Danish Parliament stand in line to vote one by one on another emergency law to combat the coronavirus pandemic, outside the Parliament at Christiansborg Castle, Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 26, 2020.
A man waits for a take-away meal next to roped-off dining tables as restaurants only cater for take-away in Sydney on March 26, 2020, due to restrictions to stop the spread of the worldwide COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Customers stand in designated areas marked on the floor outside meat and grocery shops to maintain recommended social distancing during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Islamabad on March 26, 2020.
A Palestinian boy wearing a protective mask sets cleaning tools and disinfectants for sale amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, in front of his home in al-Shati refugee camp, on March 26, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, wears a face mask during the visit of the military field hospital outside the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, on March 25, 2020, on the ninth day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 in France.
Barber Eugenio Lafargue, reflected in a mirror wearing a protective face mask against a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, styles a customer's hair, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Members of the Senegalese graffiti collective "RBS CREW" paint informational murals advising how to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, on the wall of a high school in the Parcelles Assainies neighborhood of the capital Dakar, Senegal Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
Egyptian municipality workers disinfect the Giza pyramids necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo on March 25, 2020 as protective a measure against the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
A billboard is installed on an apartment building in Cape Town, South Africa, March 25, 2020, before the country of 57 million people, will go into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days on Thursday to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
Travelers wearing face masks walk outside the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, March 25, 2020. Some train stations and bus services reopened in China's Hubei Province on Wednesday and people who passed a health check would finally be allowed to travel for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak surged in January.
A woman runs carrying her baby as a Bolivarian National Guard water cannon sprays disinfectant as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus. in the Catia parish in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the entire nation to stay home under a quarantine aimed at cutting off the spread of the new virus, calling it a “drastic and necessary measure.”
A Serbian military personal wearing a protective mask walks amongst beds set up inside a hall at the Belgrade Fair to accommodate people suffering from mild symptoms of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 on March 24, 2020. More than 200,000 coronavirus cases have been declared in Europe, according to an AFP tally on March 24, 2020.
People gather at a pharmacy to buy supplies following Indian Prime Minister's announcement of a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Mumbai on March 24, 2020.
A medical worker in protective gear tends to a patient on March 24, 2020 at the new COVID 3 level intensive care unit for coronavirus COVID-19 cases at the Casal Palocco hospital near Rome, during the country's lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,
A security guard wearing a protective mask walks beside isolation tents that will serve as a quarantine facility for people showing symptoms of the COVID-19 following the enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus in Manila, Philippines, March 24, 2020.
People practice social distancing as they sit on chairs spread apart in a waiting area for take-away food orders at a shopping mall in hopes of preventing the spread of the coronavirus in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
Palestinian groom Mohamed abu Daga and his bride Israa wear face masks amid the COVID-19 epidemic, during a photoshoot at a studio before their wedding ceremony in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, Gaza on March 23, 2020. Authorities in Gaza confirmed on March 22 the first two cases of novel coronavirus, identifying them as Palestinians who had travelled to Pakistan and were being held in quarantine since their return, as the United Nations warned of potential disastrous outcomes to an outbreak given the high poverty rates and weak health system in the coastal strip, under Israeli blockade since 2007.
Children are seen wearing face masks inside a house of a slum community on March 23, 2020 in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. The Philippine government has sealed off Luzon, the country's largest and most populous island, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Land, sea, and air travel has been suspended, while government work, schools, businesses, and public transportation have been ordered shut in a bid to keep some 55 million people at home. The Philippines' Department of Health has so far confirmed 462 cases of the new coronavirus in the country, with at least 33 recorded fatalities.
A temple worker wearing a mask to protect himself from the coronavirus COVID-19 attaches a name card with a wish to a lantern at Jogyesa Temple as Buddhists prepare to celebrate Buddha's birthday on March 23, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has called for expanded public participation in social distancing for the next two weeks, as the country witnesses a wave of community spread and imported infections leading to a resurgence in new cases of COVID-19. According to the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, 64 new cases were reported. The total number of infections in the nation tallies at 8,961.
Closed playground signs at Kitsilano Beach. The Vancouver Park Board closed all the outdoor recreation facilities in the city on March 23, 2020and their corresponding parking lots. Outdoor facility closures now include; tennis courts, hockey rinks, skateboard parks along with removing the logs on all the city beaches used by people to sit together. All of these measures reflect the increasing problem of having the general public impose the self-isolation measures recommended by the provincial health minister in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19.
A public order agency officer sprays disinfectant over a woman before she enters a local government office as a precautionary move against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in East Java, Indonesia on March 23, 2020.
A volunteer hands out relief goods for residents of a slum community undergoing home quarantine on strict orders of the government on March 23, 2020 in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. The Philippine government has sealed off Luzon, the country's largest and most populous island, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Land, sea, and air travel has been suspended, while government work, schools, businesses, and public transportation have been ordered shut in a bid to keep some 55 million people at home. The Philippines' Department of Health has so far confirmed 462 cases of the new coronavirus in the country, with at least 33 recorded fatalities.
A replica of an elephant with a face mask is driven on trailer pulled by a car to bring awareness during a one-day Janata (civil) curfew imposed by the government amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Chennai on March 22, 2020.
Don Giuseppe Corbari, parson of the Church of Robbiano, adjusts prints of selfies sent by his congregation and glued to empty pews before celebrating Sunday mass in Giussano on March 22, 2020. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on March 21, 2020, ordered all non-essential companies and factories to close nationwide to stem a coronavirus pandemic that has killed 4,825 people in the country in a month. "The decision taken by the government is to close down all productive activity throughout the territory that is not strictly necessary, crucial, indispensable, to guarantee us essential goods and services," Conte said in a late-night TV address.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference about coronavirus, as journalists sit far apart, in Berlin, Sunday, March 22, 2020. German authorities have issued a ban on more than two people meeting outside of their homes, which they believe will be easier to follow than locking people in their homes. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness.
The French Marine Nationale carrier Tonnerre sails out of the port of Ajaccio on March 22, 2020, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, heading for the port of Marseille on mainland France. The Tonnerre is carrying 12 patients with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, from the island to the mainland where they will be taken to Toulon for medical supervision.
Two friends enjoy their lunch together at a safe distance in central Leeds on March 21, 2020, a day after the British government said it would help cover the wages of people hit by the coronavirus outbreak as it tightened restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.
A man swims in the normally crowded popular beach Los Corales, in La Guaira, Venezuela, Saturday, March 21, 2020. Most people are staying home after nonessential activities were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A priest wearing a face mask and holding a funeral rites book of common prayers walks inside the closed Monumental Cemetery of Bergamo, Lombardy, on March 20, 2020 during the country's lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic.
Palestinian groom Imad Sharaf, wearing gloves and a face mask, accompanies his bride Bara'a Amarneh as they arrive at their home in the village of al-Dahriya, south of Hebron in the West Bank, on March 20, 2020. The couple celebrated their wedding wearing masks and gloves as caution measures during the corona virus COVID-19 pandemic. Guests were restricted to be first family.
Muslim men perform Friday prayer at the distance of about one meter (3 ft) to each other as a social distancing effort to prevent the spread of new coronavirus outbreak at Al Akbar mosque in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, March 20, 2020.
Vesselin Mareshki, right, leader of Bulgarian Political party Volya, and an MP from from his party wear protective suits during Parliamentary session in the Bulgarian National Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria, on March 20, 2020.
Passengers ride the tube on March 19, 2020 in London, England. Transport for London announced the closure of up to 40 stations as officials advised against non-essential travel. Bus and London Overground service will also be reduced.
Workers of the Ryongaksan Soap Factory make disinfectant in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 19, 2020. North Korea has been engaged in an intense campaign to guard against COVID-19, though it hasnÕt officially reported any cases of infection.
A passenger wears a face mask and plastic food bags on her face as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus after landing at Hong Kong's international airport on March 19, 2020. On March 18, Hong Kong authorities began ordering all arrivals from overseas to wear electronic bracelets, connected to an app to mark your location, and two weeks self-quarantine.
Health personnel measure the temperature of a visitor at the entrance of the Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya on March 18, 2020. The Government of Kenya confirmed new positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus on March 18, 2020, bringing the total official number of cases in the East African country to 7. African countries have been among the last to be hit by the global COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic but as cases rise, many nations are now taking strict measures to block the deadly illness.
Thousands of Muslims attend a prayer session asking for safety amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, near Raipur in Lakshmipur district on March 18, 2020.Thousands of Muslims have joined a special prayer in a southern Bangladesh town seeking protection from the coronavirus to almighty, officials said on March 18 as the south Asian nation confirmed its first casualty by Covid-19.
Volunteers pack hand sanitizer and disinfectant that will be distributed for free in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, Mexico on March 18 2020, as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
Lawmakers wearing face masks as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 attend a session in Congress, in Guatemala City, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei delivered his emergency economic relief plan spurred by the coronavirus crisis.
A woman walks by the Esplanade du Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on March 18, 2020 in Paris as a strict lockdown comes into in effect in France to stop the spread of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus.
A deliveryman wearing a protective face mask pauses by a double-deck tourist bus decorated with a huge mask in the center of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on March 18, 2020. Ukraine late on March 16 announced shutdowns of public transport, bars, restaurants and shopping malls to stem the spread of the coronavirus after President Volodymyr Zelensky promised to act "harshly, urgently, perhaps unpopularly". The government supported Zelensky's proposals and introduced restrictions on domestic movement, including full closure of the country's three metro systems in Kiev, Kharkiv and Dniprom until April 3.
A man sprays commuters with hand sanitizer as a preventive measures in Johannesburg, South Africa on March 18, 2020. African countries have been among the last to be hit by the global COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic but as cases rise, many nations are now taking strict measures to block the deadly illness.
People wait around on the AIDAmira, an Italian registered cruise ship carrying mostly German passengers, as the ship is docked in Cape Town harbour, and is being quarantined due to several suspected COVID-19 cases on board, on March 18, 2020, in Cape Town, South Africa.
Trucks are jammed in the early morning on Autobahn 12 in front of the German-Polish border crossing near Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, March 18, 2020. In order to make it more difficult for the corona virus to spread, Poland had reintroduced controls at the border crossings to Germany.
The UME (Emergency Army Unit) attend the train station in Granada, Spain March 17, 2020. Police checked passports and IDs at the Pyrenees' border with France and along the 1,200 kilometer shared border with Portugal, as Spain re-established controls for incoming and outgoing travellers to stem the new COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
A street vendor wears a plastic bag as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 16, 2020. The Sao Paulo stock exchange closed down 13.9 percent Monday and the Brazilian real closed below five to the dollar for the first time ever in further fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Police disinfect a van at a hotel in Buenos Aires on March 16, 2020 before going to Ezeiza International airport from where a couple of US tourists will be expelled from the country for violating coronavirus quarantine rules. The couple defied restrictions imposed on visitors to try to limit the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Peruvian army soldiers control traffic in Lima on March 16, 2020, in an attempt to persuade the population to stay at home, one day after President Martin Vizcarra announced a State of Emergency and a two-week nationwide home-stay quarantine together with the closure of all borders to fight the spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. No fatalities have been recorded of the 86 cases of Covid-19 detected in the country.
A woman wears a medical mask plane with her smartphone as she walks inside a Metro station in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 16, 2020. The Russian government says that it has decided to bar entry to all foreigners starting Wednesday. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
A soldier wears a face mask as he mans a checkpoint to inspect vehicles entering Caracas, Venezuela, are being inspected Monday, March 16, 2020. President Nicolás Maduro ordered Sunday residents in the capital and six states to stay home under a quarantine in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks from the virus, depending on the severity of the illness.
A woman crosses the usually busy La Castellana avenue in Madrid on March 15, 2020. France and Spain are the latest European nations to severely curtail people's movements as countries across the Americas and Asia impose travel restrictions in a widening crisis over coronavirus, as the number of infections around the world passed 150,000, with nearly 6,000 deaths.
Serbian medical worker checks the body temperature of a traveller on March 15, 2020, at the Batrovci border crossing between Serbia and Croatia. Currently there are 46 positive cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in the Republic of Serbia. Serbian government temporarily prohibits the entry of foreign nationals arriving from countries particularly affected by the virus. Serbian nationals coming from the affected area go to a mandatory solitary confinement at home, under medical supervision, for 14 days. Previously indoor mass events are cancelled, and no spectators at sporting events. The government has "temporarily closed" 44 border crossings (the main ones remain open), to road, rail and river traffic.
A Catholic worshipper using protective gloves prays with a rosary beads at the Santa Maria de Cana parish in Pozuelo de Alarcon, outskirts Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Pope Francis has praised people for their continuing efforts to help vulnerable communities, including the poor and the homeless, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The vast majority of people recover from the COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness.
A Catalan Autonomous police officer, Mosso d'Esquadra, halts a woman who was jogging through Las Ramblas on March 15, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. As part of the measures against the virus expansion the Government has declared a 15-day state of emergency which will come into effect today.
People clap their hands and wave, in Rome, Saturday, March 14, 2020. At noon in Italy, people came out on their balconies, terraces, gardens or simply leaned out from open windows to clap for several minute in a gesture of thanks for the doctors, nurses, other hospital staff and ambulance crews who have been treating and helping infected patients.
Medical staff members wearing protective suits take samples from a young boy to test for the novel coronavirus called COVID-19 at the Bulovka hospital in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, March 14, 2020. The Czech Republic's government has approved further dramatic measures early Saturday to try and stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Employees of the Istanbul Municipality wearing protective gear disinfects a subway carriage to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, in Istanbul on March 12, 2020. Turkey announced on March 11, 2020 its first coronavirus case, a man who had recently travelled to Europe and is in good health.
Workers place a mask on the figure of the Fallas festival in Valencia, Wednesday March 11, 2020. The Fallas festival which was due to take place on March 13 has been cancelled over the coronavirus outbreak. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
A disinfectant worker sprays anti-septic solution against COVID-19 aboard a firetruck along a street on March 11, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday declared a state of public health emergency as the number of people infected with COVID-19 in the country rose to 33 from just 3 cases last week. With over 115,000 confirmed cases around the world, the coronavirus has so far claimed over 4,000 lives.
Medical staff celebrate after all patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on March 9, 2020. China closed most of its makeshift hospitals for coronavirus patients, some schools reopened and Disney resort staff went back to work on March 9 as normality slowly returns to the country after weeks battling the epidemic.
A staff member removes waste after the final patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in a sports stadium in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on March 8, 2020. - China on March 8 reported its lowest number of new coronavirus infections since January, with nearly all the 44 new cases in the outbreak epicenter Wuhan.
An Iraqi health ministry worker scans the body temperature of a driver of an incoming vehicle in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on March 8, 2020, as part of measures against COVID-19 coronavirus disease.
A protester sprays protesters with sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus during a rally demanding women's right during the International Women's Day in Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 8, 2020.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, rescuers search for victims at the site of a hotel collapse in Quanzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province, Sunday, March 8, 2020. Several people were killed and others trapped in the collapse of the Chinese hotel that was being used to isolate people who had arrived from other parts of China hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, authorities said Sunday.
Medics treat a patient infected with the new coronavirus, at a hospital in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, March 8, 2020. With the approaching Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, officials kept up pressure on people not to travel and to stay home. Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, who gave Iran's new casualty figures Sunday, reiterated that people should not even attend funerals.
A worker from the Guatemalan Health Ministry checks a passenger's body temperature as a preventive measure against the new coronavirus, COVID-19, at the Aurora International Airport, in Guatemala City, on March 4, 2020.
Volunteers spray disinfectant with a robot at a residental area in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on March 3, 2020. The world has entered uncharted territory in its battle against the deadly coronavirus, the UN health agency warned, as new infections dropped dramatically in China on March 3 but surged abroad with the US death toll rising to six.
A woman walks past shelves where toilet paper was stocked and now sold out, at a shop in Tokyo on March 1, 2020. The COVID-19 viral outbreak across Japan and dozens of other countries has fueled concerns about the Summer Games, which open on July 24, after sports events were postponed or cancelled.
People wearing face masks attend Mass at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, March 1, 2020. The church decided to replace Sunday services with online ones for members' safety amid the spread of the COVID-19.
Medical personnel attend to a patient in critical condition at a hospital designated for coronavirus patients in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province, Sunday, March 1, 2020. China on Sunday reported a slight uptick in new cases exceeded 500 over the past 24 hours. They remain almost entirely confined to the hardest-hit province of Hubei and its capital, the epicenter of Wuhan.
Students wearing Disney character hats and face masks leave Tokyo Disneyland on the day it announced it will close until March 15th because of concerns over the COVID-19 virus, on Feb. 28, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. A growing number of events and sporting fixtures are being cancelled or postponed around Japan while some businesses are closing or asking their employees or work from home. Prime Minister Abe has also asked schools to close for around a month as COVID-19 cases continue to increase and concerns mount over the possibility that the outbreak will force the postponement or even cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics.
Mask-clad commuters make their way to work during morning rush hour at the Shinagawa train station in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2020. Tokyo's key Nikkei index plunged nearly three percent at the open on February 28 after US and European sell-offs with investors worried about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus at a bus garage in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 26, 2020. The number of new virus infections in South Korea jumped again Wednesday and the U.S. military reported its first case among its soldiers based in the Asian country, with his case and many others connected to a southeastern city with an illness cluster.
A shopper wearing face mask pushes a shopping cart in front of an empty shelves inside a grocery store on Feb. 9, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong has 29 confirmed cases of Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), with over 37,500 confirmed cases around the world, the virus has so far claimed over 800 lives.
A Chinese woman wears a protective mask as she has her temperature checked before entering a park with her child on Feb. 9, 2020 in Beijing, China. The number of cases of a deadly new coronavirus rose to more than 37000 in mainland China Sunday, days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a global public health emergency. China continued to lock down the city of Wuhan in an effort to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease which medicals experts have confirmed can be passed from human to human. In an unprecedented move, Chinese authorities have put travel restrictions on the city which is the epicenter of the virus and municipalities in other parts of the country affecting tens of millions of people. The number of those who have died from the virus in China climbed to over 810 on Sunday, mostly in Hubei province, and cases have been reported in other countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and several others. The World Health Organization has warned all governments to be on alert and screening has been stepped up at airports around the world. Some countries, including the United States, have put restrictions on Chinese travelers entering and advised their citizens against travel to China.
Coaches transport eighty-three Britons and 27 foreign nationals who have been evacuated from Wuhan following a Coronavirus outbreak, from RAF Brize Norton to Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, where they will be quarantined, on January 31, 2020 in Brize Norton, England. Two people in the same family have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus in the UK.
A Chinese girl wears a plastic bottle as makeshift homemade protection and a protective mask while waiting to check in to a flight at Beijing Capital Airport on Jan. 30, 2020 in Beijing, China. The number of cases of a deadly new coronavirus rose to over 7000 in mainland China Thursday as the country continued to lock down the city of Wuhan in an effort to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease which medicals experts have confirmed can be passed from human to human. In an unprecedented move, Chinese authorities put travel restrictions on the city which is the epicenter of the virus and neighboring municipalities affecting tens of millions of people. The number of those who have died from the virus in China climbed to over 170 on Thursday, mostly in Hubei province, and cases have been reported in other countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and France. The World Health Organization has warned all governments to be on alert, and its emergency committee is to meet later on Thursday to decide whether to declare a global health emergency.
Chinese police officers wearing masks stand in front of the Tiananmen Gate on Jan. 26, 2020 in Beijing, China. The number of cases of coronavirus rose to 1,975 in mainland China on Sunday. Authorities tightened restrictions on travel and tourism this weekend after putting Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, under quarantine on Thursday. The spread of the virus corresponds with the first days of the Spring Festival, which is one of the biggest domestic travel weeks of the year in China. Popular tourism landmarks in Beijing including the Forbidden City, Badaling Great Wall, and The Palace Museum were closed to the public starting Saturday. The Beijing Municipal Education Commission announced it will delay reopening schools from kindergarten to university. The death toll on Sunday rose to 56. The majority of fatalities are in Wuhan where the first cases of the virus were reported last month.
Chinese children wear protective masks as they wait to board trains at Beijing Railway station before the annual Spring Festival on Jan. 21, 2020 in Beijing, China. The number of cases of a deadly new coronavirus rose to nearly 300 in mainland China Tuesday as health officials stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease which medicals experts confirmed can be passed from human to human. The number of those who have died from the virus in China climbed to six on Tuesday and cases have been reported in other parts of Asia including in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
‘Widespread discontent and dissatisfaction’ in China?
While China's official figures show that transmission of the coronavirus has all but ended in most of the country's regions, unverified reports and online photos have begun to circulate suggesting that China's death toll, most of them in Wuhan, could be far higher than the 3,312 figure published by China's National Health Commission.
The Beijing-based Caixin newspaper reported on March 27 significantly elevated official cremation rates in Wuhan, possibly indicating a more substantial death figure, though the report acknowledges the increases were inconclusive. It is also not clear how extensively China has been counting asymptomatic cases, though it is tracking them.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly condemned China's initial suppression of warnings about the outbreak and questioned the accuracy of Beijing's infection figures.
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China's central government meanwhile has dismissed persistent allegations that it's been trying to downplay the severity of infections, although it has not denied initially detaining whistleblowing doctors and citizen journalists in December who tried to speak out about a mysterious virus in Wuhan. China's National Health Commission said Tuesday it will start including asymptomatic coronavirus carriers in its daily figures.
As of April 1, China recorded fewer than half – about 82,000 – the number of U.S. coronavirus cases. However, it appears to be bracing for a potential second-wave of infections and over the last few days China has had to re-close some public spaces and businesses, such as movie theaters, amid spiking clusters of cases, mostly imported.
"The Chinese are trying to paint the narrative that the model they have pursued has been a huge success and that we are failing," because of our mode of governance, said J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Affairs (CSIS), a Washington think tank, in a media briefing.
Morrison said that there's significant evidence that the Chinese government’s handling of the crisis has sparked "widespread discontent and dissatisfaction," pointing specifically to the case of Dr. Li Wenliang, who was detained when he first tried to alert other health care providers about the novel coronavirus. He later died from the virus.
Concern has also grown over the whereabouts of Ai Fen, the head of Emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital. She is the doctor who first alerted the late Wenliang about the spread of the deadly virus. An Australian investigation team who interviewed Fen last week said she has disappeared, possibly detained by the Chinese government.
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And Heather Conley, the director of the Europe program at CSIS, said that while the response in democratic countries like the U.S. may look chaotic, there’s strength in that approach. "You have neighbors helping neighbors, and you have states making decisions. Sometimes it’s the federal level having to catch up with those decisions, and that’s a much more dynamic, nimble and resilient response," she said.
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Jan Renders, 29, a graduate student who was studying Chinese politics at Central China Normal University in Wuhan and airlifted out on Feb. 1 to his home in Belgium, said that the Chinese response was "too harsh" and lacked transparency.
"In Wuhan, when everything went into lockdown nobody could come or go and that included patients. The hospitals were overloaded and I’m sure people died because they couldn’t be transported to other hospitals, where there was room," he said, noting that German hospitals have started taking coronavirus patients from overcrowded hospitals in Italy, where more than 12,400 people have died of COVID-19, the most anywhere.
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Yet Edward Tse, the Hong Kong-based founder of the Gao Feng Advisory Company, a management consultancy with roots in mainland China, said that his perception is that, on the whole, most people in China supported the government's tough measures, including systematically isolating and quarantining carriers of the virus, even if they were from the same family or had a very mild or only suspected coronavirus infection.
"Isolation is the key," he said. "It just depends on how you do it. The Chinese government decided to do it in a certain way. It turned out to be quite effective."
A British video blogger posted a video on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform last week that explained how China implemented the softer side of its policy of "ling jiechu," which translates as "zero contact." It allowed neighborhood committees to take charge of arrangements for shopping and deliveries. Highways were made toll-free, with no limits to the number of cars on a road, previously not the case. For those without a car, customized bus routes were set up, operated according to demand, and with tickets purchased on a smartphone app and capacity set at 50%. Many restaurants installed basic, but effective pulley systems to maintain employee-customer distance.
Wang, the student who returned to Wuhan from Guangdong to live with her elderly relatives, said many people in China "have the idea, and maybe it’s a stereotype, that medical care" in the U.S. and Europe is more advanced than in China.
"I am worried about places like New York City and Milan," she said. "I don’t know why the deaths are so much higher there. I hope they will be strong and keep calm."
Hjelmgaard reported from London, Lyman from Rome and Shesgreen from Washington
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: This is what China did to beat coronavirus. Experts say America couldn't handle it
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