1,700 heath workers infected, more ‘wartime’ measures, first fatality in Japan

China confirms more than 1,700 health workers infected, 60 dead

• COVID-19 cases, deaths continue to increase

• First fatality in Japan, increasing deaths outside mainland China to three

• Another city in China announces wartime measures

• White House official accuses China of lack of transparency


More than 1,700 health workers infected, 60 dead

China National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin said Friday that 1,716 health workers have been infected by the virus and six of them have died as of Tuesday.

Zeng, at a press conference on protecting medical workers, said the number of infected medical staff is increasing.

“At present, 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,” Zeng said.

Chinese officials and hospitals have repeatedly noted a shortage of protective equipment, including face masks, as the disease took hold in Hubei and spread throughout the country. — Reuters

COVID-19 cases increase as death toll approaches 1,400

Another 5,090 cases of COVID-19 and a further 121 deaths were reported by authorities across China, all but five of them were in Hubei province, the center of the outbreak.

China’s national health commission has so far confirmed more than 63,000 cases of COVID-19, the new name for disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as of Friday morning.The current death toll, 1,380, represents a decrease in deaths previously reported in Hubei province.

A medical worker in protective suit gets onto an ambulance at a hospital, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country, in Xuanhua district of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China Feb. 13.China Daily / Reuters

China’s National Health Commission said it deducted 108 deaths from Hubei “due to repeated statistics,” making the death toll in Hubei 116.

Officials in Hubei have changed the way they are diagnosing and reporting cases. They are now identifying cases based on what the patients’ lungs look like on CT scans, rather than waiting for lab results to confirm infection with the virus. — Leou Chen

Another Hubei area declares ‘wartime control’ measures

Authorities in Yunmeng County of Hubei province announced a lock down to be implemented Friday morning, on residential areas and buildings would be sealed and vehicles banned. Those who violate the rules “will be detained, in accordance with relevant regulations during wartime management.”

Similar wartime control measures were also implemented in the cities of Shiyan and Xiaogan in Hubei province on Thursday. —Dawn Liu

First fatality in Japan

Japan confirmed its first fatality from COVID-19 on Friday, which increases the total number of deaths outside mainland China to three. There has been one fatality in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered his prayers and condolences to the family of the person affected on Friday morning.

The Japanese leader said the government is coordinating with local municipalities and working on expanding testing systems in the country as well as “further accelerating the treatment system for infected people.”

The first fatality was a woman in her 80s who had been treated at a hospital near Tokyo since Feb. 1 after developing symptoms. Her infection was confirmed after her death. — Associated Press

Senior US official accuses China of lack of transparency

White House adviser Larry Kudlow criticized China for lack of transparency when reporting the numbers on the current outbreak.

“We are a little disappointed that we haven’t been invited in and we’re a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese,” Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters Thursday.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Geng Shuang responded to this comment Friday, saying China is working in an “open, transparent and highly responsible manner” with the international community for the sake of global public health. China has been active and open towards cooperation with the U.S., he noted. — Ed Flanagan

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