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President Xi Warns nCoV Outbreak ‘Threatens Stability’ As Top WHO Official Disputes ‘Pandemic’ Designation

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Via Zerohedge

Summary:

  • Confirmed deaths: 427
  • Confirmed cases: 20,676
  • Aimerican Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Jetstar close routes to China
  • Taiwan tightens travel restrictions
  • WHO infectious hazard chief says outbreak ‘not a pandemic’
  • Japan says no coronavirus cases confirmed on cruise ship “Diamond Princess”

* * *

No new coronavirus-related deaths were announced overnight, leaving the global fatality toll at 427, with all but two of those deaths occurring in China, according to the South China Morning Post. The total number of confirmed cases is closing in on 21,000, as nearly 200,000 are ‘under observation’ in China.

 

Yesterday, President Xi convened a second meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s highest governing body. The public meeting marked Xi’s second appearance before the Chinese people since the coronavirus outbreak. According to reports in Chinee state media, Xi declared the outbreak “a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance and we must sum up the experience and draw a lesson from it,” while declaring the outbreak a threat to societal stability. As we reported yesterday, Xi also warned local officials that they would be punished if they failed to suppress the virus, or if they slowed down the government’s efforts to fight the virus for the sake of “formalities” and “bureaucratism,” according to the New York Times.

Already, more than 400 local officials have already officially punished for dereliction of duty, despite complaints from some (including the Mayor of Wuhan) that Beijing tied their hands.

China’s financial ‘support’ of the WHO continued to pay off on Tuesday as the head of WHO’s Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness division said that the nCoV outbreak doesn’t yet constitute a global “pandemic” – directly contradicting the organization’s declaration.

As the world grows increasingly skeptical of the numbers and information coming out of China, Beijing’s NHC said Tuesday that the coronavirus mortality rate would drop further as soon as “suitable treatments” are implemented in Wuhan. What kind of treatments are they talking about? Well, as we’ve repeatedly pointed out, nCoV responds to a cocktail of AIDS drugs (sometimes augmented with typical flu treatments). Some scientists have highlighted certain similarities between HIV and nCoV.

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NHC Deputy Director Jiao Yahui said the national fatality rate was just 2.1%, with the vast majority of deaths in Hubei province. Some scientists have projected that the real death rate might be closer to 11%

Especially after Hong Kong suffered its first confirmed fatality due to the coronavirus, marking only the second death from the outbreak outside China.  The dead man traveled by train to Wuhan on Jan. 21 before returning to Hong Kong two days later.

Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, shut down its casinos for at least the first half of February.

Though some other provinces are catching up, Hubei remains by far the hardest-hit of China’s 31 provinces. The central Chinese province has lost 414 people, or 97% of the mainland death toll and the mortality rate in Wuhan, the provincial capital, has reached 4.9%, with 313 deaths so far. The mortality rate for Hubei as a whole is 3.1%, the highest of any province in the country.

Since our last check-in, airlines have suspended more routes to China. At least two more Asian airlines – Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific and Japan’s Jetstar – suspended routes to China on Tuesday, joining dozens of other airlines, including almost all of the major American carriers, in suspending passenger travel as demand plummets. Domestic airlines, meanwhile, have been asked by the Party not to cut international flights. American Airlines suspended flights to Hong Kong from Dallas and Los Angeles through Feb. 20.

Taiwan will ban foreigners who have visited or have been living on the mainland over the past 14 days from entering the island, effective Friday. The ban won’t apply to foreigners living in Hong Kong or Macau. On Tuesday, Taiwan’s coastguard stepped up patrols around the resort island of Penghun to stop Chinese fishing boats from “intruding” into Taiwanese territory (and possibly carrying Chinese desperate to avoid quarantine), the SCMP reports.

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The decision to tighten restrictions on travelers from the mainland comes after its government condemned Beijing for blocking Taipei from joining the WHO’s anti-epidemic network, which would have allowed Taiwan to access first-hand information about the virus and any suppression efforts that are actually working.

Australia is the latest country to evacuate citizens from Wuhan. Like Japan, the US and the UK, it has forced those rescued into a two-week quarantine.

Japan has quarantined around 3,700 people aboard a cruise ship off the port city of Yokohama after a passenger who departed the cruise at an earlier date tested positive for coronavirus. So far, officials say they haven’t detected any cases of the virus aboard the ship, but tests are ongoing.

According to the Chinese press, a similar scenario is playing out at a mainland port (marking at least the third quarantine of a cruise ship since the beginning of the outbreak).

Chinese press has also reported on cases where individuals resisted a mandatory quarantine. This is a warning to the population as much as anything.

As we’ve repeatedly reported, signs are emerging that a combination therapy involving cocktails of drugs meant for different ailments may be effective in combating the coronavirus outbreak around the world, with different hospitals from Bangkok to Zhejiang reporting cases of patients recovering from the disease, according to SCMP.

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