NH urges recent arrivals from China to stay home amid virus outbreak

Monday, 03 Feb, 2020

The advisory for China now stands at "Level 4: Do Not Travel" - the same category the US uses for Yemen, Libya and South Sudan.

The ban on USA entry of foreign nationals who have traveled to China during the past 14 days would exempt immediate family of US citizens and permanent USA residents, Azar said.

In response, Delta Air Lines moved up its planned suspension of all U.S. flights to China to Sunday, February 2.

China's central bank said it would inject a hefty 1.2 trillion yuan ($173.8 billion) worth of liquidity into the markets via reverse repo operations on Monday as the country prepares to reopen its stock markets after an extended Lunar New Year holiday.

The number of confirmed infections across China passed 14,300 on Sunday, the National Health Commission announced - far higher than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak of 2002-03.

Although scientists expect to see limited transmission of the virus between people with family or other close contacts, they are concerned about cases of infection spreading to people who might have less exposure. However, experts say travel restrictions and business closures aimed at stopping the outbreak could end up hurting rather than helping the situation. He added that some 3 million Chinese tourists visit Singapore in a normal year.

SARS, which is caused by a pathogen similar to the new coronavirus and also originated in China, killed 774 people worldwide, majority in China or Hong Kong.

Many countries are also seeing rising anti-Chinese sentiment and even public aversion to those from the epicenter of the outbreak.

"Certainly it is not a gesture of goodwill", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The department was, however, telling people not to go to the airport unannounced because they will not be permitted to board the aircraft.

The virus has led to 213 deaths in China, where 2019-nCoV was first reported. Other carriers including British Airways, Finnair and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific also have canceled or cut back service to mainland China.

William Yang, a reporter for Deutsche-Welle, claims China is concealing the real number of deaths by sending people to crematoriums without identifying them.

The virus's rapid spread in two months prompted the World Health Organization on Thursday to declare it a global emergency.

The United States has confirmed eight cases: three in California, two in IL, one in Arizona, one in MA and one in Washington state. A woman who had traveled to Wuhan spread the virus to her husband when she returned to Chicago, according to health officials.

But the university said the wider risk remains low as investigations revealed the unnamed student has not been on campus since being infected, and was not there in the period beforehand either.

Struggling to contain the virus, authorities took action in eastern city of Wenzhou on Sunday - some 800 kilometres (500 miles) from Wuhan, the metropolis at the heart of the health emergency - closing roads and confining people to their homes.

The Canadian government has not said whether Canadians arriving from China would be quarantined.

All of the reported deaths from the virus have been in China so far. As many as 14 cases were reported from Japan, 14 from Thailand, 13 from Singapore, nine from Australia, nine from Taiwan, one from Sri Lanka, one from Cambodia, five from Vietnam, five from Germany, six from France, six from the U.S., seven from South Korea, one from India, one from Nepal, one from Finland, one from Philippines, eight from Malaysia, four from the UAE, three from Canada, two from Italy and two from the UK.

In Japan, a tour guide and bus driver became infected after escorting two tour groups from Wuhan.

Toner led a summit in October with World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to discuss the negative impacts of trade and travel restrictions during a pandemic.