/Beijing orders 14-day quarantine for all returnees

Beijing orders 14-day quarantine for all returnees


Workers wearing protective suits disinfect a commercial complex in Beijing following an outbreak of the coronavirusImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

More than 63,000 people in China have been infected with the coronavirus

Beijing has ordered everyone returning to the city to go into quarantine for 14 days or risk punishment in the latest attempt to contain the new coronavirus, state media report.

Residents were told to “self-quarantine or go to designated venues to quarantine” after returning to the Chinese capital from holidays.

The measure came as Egypt confirmed the first coronavirus case in Africa.

Over 1,300 people have died from the virus, which originated in Wuhan city.

The notice on Friday from Beijing’s virus prevention working group was issued as residents returned from spending the Lunar New Year in other parts of China.

The holiday was extended this year to help contain the outbreak.

In China alone, more than 63,000 people have been infected with the virus, and 1,381 have died.

Outside China, there have been 505 cases in 24 countries, and two deaths.

A World Health Organization (WHO)-led mission to China will start its outbreak investigation work this weekend, focusing on how the virus is spreading and its severity, director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The mission, including international experts, will also look at how and when more than 1,700 health workers contracted the virus.

What is the first case in Africa?

Egypt’s health ministry on Friday confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in Africa.

The ministry described the person as a foreigner, but did not disclose the nationality.

It said it had notified the WHO and the patient had been placed in isolation in a hospital.

What is the situation with medical workers?

Chinese officials say six health workers have died, and more than 1,700 have been infected since the outbreak began.

Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, said 1,102 medical workers had been infected in Wuhan and another 400 in other parts of Hubei province.

“The duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy; their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high,” Mr Zeng said, as quoted by Reuters news agency.

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Media captionMedics in Wuhan resort to shaving their heads in a bid to prevent cross-infection of the coronavirus

Local authorities have struggled to provide protective equipment such as respiratory masks, goggles and protective suits in hospitals in the area.

On 7 February, the plight of medical workers was highlighted by the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital who had tried to issue the first warning about the virus on 30 December.

He had sent out a warning to fellow medics but police told him to stop “making false comments”.

A wave of anger and grief flooded Chinese social media site Weibo when news of Dr Li’s death broke.

What are the other developments?

  • In the UK, two lawmakers cancelled public engagements after attending a summit where an attendee was diagnosed with the illness
  • China said it would stagger the return of children to school – several provinces have closed schools until the end of February
  • In Vietnam, which borders China, thousands of people in villages near the capital, Hanoi, have been put under quarantine after several cases were discovered. Vietnam has now confirmed at least 16 cases
  • The Red Cross has called for sanctions relief for North Korea, which would allow the aid agency to transfer funds to buy equipment. Testing kits and protective clothing are urgently needed to prepare for a possible outbreak, it says
  • British rap star Stormzy has postponed the Asian leg of his tour – he had been due to play in locations including Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia in March
  • A Russian woman – who was put into a coronavirus quarantine but escaped – is resisting attempts by officials to bring her back to hospital by force. Alla Ilyina, 32, has been refusing to open the door of her St Petersburg apartment to police

Read more about the coronavirus and its impact


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