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The Corona virus epidemic continues to grow, but its spread in China is slowing

HONG KONG – Chinese officials praised the latest figures as evidence that the spread of the coronavirus has slowed, and WHO officials said on Tuesday that China’s severe restrictions on the movements of its people have helped.

But the outbreak and death toll are constantly increasing, the picture outside of China has grown more steadily, and experts warn of excessive optimism about the crisis’s climax.

“It would be unwise for anyone in China, or outside of China, to feel good about this being controlled at the moment,” said Professor Malik Peiris, Head of Virology at the University of Hong Kong.

Researchers in Germany presented evidence on Tuesday that people with the new Coronavirus can infect others even if they do not develop symptoms, as suspected disease experts. Their findings, published in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicated that people may spread the disease before they know they are sick.

But the daily toll of the Chinese government on new infections and deaths due to the virus has decreased steadily since February 12.

On Tuesday, the authorities reported that during the past 24 hours, 1,886 new cases had been confirmed – the first time since January 30 that the number had fallen below 2,000 – and 98 patients had died. This brought the number of reported injuries to 72,436 in China, with the death toll reaching 1,868.

Government officials, as well as public health experts around the world, said the figures indicate that China’s crackdown on the epidemic has been effective. Chinese leader Xi Jinping told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a phone call on Tuesday that China was making “remarkable progress” in containing the epidemic, according to Chinese government media.

More than half of the country’s population According to some restrictions on its movement, 150 million of its residents face restrictions on leaving their homes, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

The closure of China has slowed the spread of the virus from its headquarters, Wuhan, to the rest of China for two to three days, and from China to the rest of the world for two to three weeks. Officials said.

The organization’s endorsement of China’s methods was a clear reflection of what it was less than three weeks ago, when it advised against restrictions on travel and trade. Some health experts have condemned the restrictions, saying they prevent vital resources from getting to the desired location, and could sow panic.

Professor Zhong Nanshan, a famous respiratory disease expert in China, said on Monday that he expected the epidemic to peak in the southern regions of the country by mid to late February, and to follow the rest of the country shortly thereafter.

But Dr. Tedros Adhanum Gebresus, the director general, said on Monday that the phenomenon of proliferation in China “must be interpreted with great caution”

“It is too early to know whether this decrease will continue,” he told a news conference in Geneva. “Every scenario is still on the table.”

Since Chinese officials first admitted the virus in December, it has been difficult to judge the exact and severity of the outbreak.

China has Changed the diagnostic criteria, which resulted in a significant increase in reported injuries and deaths reported last week. Virus tests were not very accurate, and people who do not seek and receive medical care may not be counted. People who have mild or no symptoms may not realize that they have the virus and may not be counted.

Initially, the cases reported outside of mainland China were among people who visited there recently, but increasingly come from contact in other countries.

The number of cases has increased in Japan in recent days, most of them linked to a quarantine cruise ship that has become a focal point. Other sets of cases also appeared in Japan, but so far the Princess Diamond Ship represents most cases worldwide outside China – 542 as of Tuesday, an increase of 88 in one day.

On Monday, more than 300 US passengers were transported on board the ship to the United States and quarantined for two weeks. Fourteen of them tested positive for Corona virus shortly before leaving Japan, but were still allowed to board the flights. American officials began the evacuation from their homes without knowing the test results.

Some of these passengers said on Tuesday that they had reported that many more had tested positive for HIV since they arrived in the United States.

Also on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told more than 100 Americans who had been in Diamond Princess that they could not return home for at least two weeks, after it became clear that efforts to control the virus on board the ship were ineffective. . Passengers include some people who have been infected with the virus and have been hospitalized, while others are still on board the ship, which did not show signs of illness.

Japanese officials said they expected 500 people to leave the ship on Wednesday. But they did not explain how they concluded that it was safe to release the people, or how they decided which passengers would leave, or who they would be.

Cambodia allowed more than a thousand passengers from another cruise ship, Westerdam, to disembark without testing most of them. Hundreds of them have flown out of the country before One of them fell ill and tested positive for the virus, which raised fears of undetected cases and another global spread.

The country’s authoritarian leader, Hun Sen, continued to express his satisfaction with the outbreak of the disease, and even encouraged passengers from Westerdam to go sightseeing in Cambodia.

“Cruise ships are the weak link in containment,” said Professor Reena MacIntyre, a biosecurity expert at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Citing the possibility that future cruise ships might harbor the virus, she said, “We may lose control of the epidemic if we do not obtain a tightened status on the status of the cruise ship.”

There are other signs that the global losses of fascism have not yet spread. The first coronavirus-associated death outside Asia was announced on Saturday, when a Chinese man died in France. Taiwan announced its first HIV-related death on Sunday, marking the fifth death outside the Chinese mainland.

The economic cost of the outbreak, which has paralyzed China, the world’s second largest economy, continues to grow.

On Tuesday, the London-based HSBC, which has deep roots in Hong Kong, said it would cut 35,000 jobs over the next three years, partly due to an outbreak of the Coronavirus.

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