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February 25, 2020
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World news Got a TV Licence?You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.Find out moreLive ReportingBy David Molloy, Tom Spender and Roland HughesAll times stated are UKPosted at 12:4612:46Queues for face masks in ShanghaiVideo contentVideo caption: Coronavirus: Virus fears trigger Shanghai face mask shortageCoronavirus: Virus fears trigger Shanghai face mask shortagePosted at 12:3912:39The best of the BBC’s coveragePosted at 12:3712:37Embassy searches for Wuhan tourist in FranceLucy WilliamsonBBC News Paris CorrespondentThe Chinese Embassy in Paris has told the BBC that they are trying to locate a woman from the Wuhan area who said on social media that she had taken medication to suppress signs of the virus in order to enter France. There is no confirmation of whether she is still in France, or whether she does have the virus.The woman had reportedly passed through screening at customs while flights out of Wuhan were still operating and then posted pictures of herself eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant in France and described how she had managed to get there.She has been widely criticised by other Chinese social media users, the South China Morning Post reports.Posted at 12:2912:29How the virus has spread through ChinaBBCCopyright: BBCAll the fatalities so far have been in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.But Wuhan is also a major transport hub, and non-fatal cases of the virus appear to have spread from the city to other provinces, mainly in the east of the country.Apart from the city’s airports, it’s also well-connected by railway to major population centres – including Shanghai and Beijing.BBCCopyright: BBCPosted at 12:2312:23Your questions answeredIs it possible to vaccinate? – Hans FriedrichMichelle RobertsHealth editor, BBC News onlineAt the moment, there is no vaccine that can protect people against this type of coronavirus, but researchers are looking to develop one.It is a new strain that hasn’t been seen in humans before, which means doctors still have lots to learn about it.Posted at 12:1612:16Can you quarantine an entire city?Owen AmosBBC News, SingaporeGettyCopyright: GettyCan you quarantine an entire city? And if you can – does it work?Wuhan is a huge place – the 42nd biggest city in the world, according to UN data – and cannot easily be turned into an isolation ward.”The only way you could do it, realistically, would be to ring-fence the city with the PLA [Chinese military],” says Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, a health security expert from the University of Sydney.But even if they do it, where – literally – would they draw the line? Like most modern cities, Wuhan sprawls into smaller towns and villages.Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, puts it more bluntly.”To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” he told the Associated Press. “We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”And even if it proves possible to shut the stable door on Wuhan, the horse may already have bolted.Read more: How do you quarantine a city – and does it work?Posted at 12:1212:12Criticisms emerge in Chinese mediaKerry AllenBBC Monitoring, Chinese Media AnalystSome
criticisms are appearing in Chinese media about why the authorities were slow to respond to the outbreak. The Chengdu Business Daily is asking “why didn’t Wuhan close the city earlier”
and Hu Xijin, the editor of prominent newspaper Global Times acknowledges that
there was a “failure” to contain the virus, saying he was “worried that some
places, while attaching great importance to meetings and slogans, have not
really been mobilised to deal with a large public health battle”. Elsewhere, The Paper also interviews a couple, who say they suspect they may have the virus, but have waited days on end without being diagnosed or quarantined.Posted at 12:0612:06Airports exercise extreme cautionReutersCopyright: ReutersAt Japan’s Narita airport, passengers on flights from Wuhan, that launched just before the lockdown came in, wore whatever protection they could findImage caption: At Japan’s Narita airport, passengers on flights from Wuhan, that launched just before the lockdown came in, wore whatever protection they could findAFPCopyright: AFPIn Rome’s Fiumicino airport, an employee dons protective gear to check-in luggage from WuhanImage caption: In Rome’s Fiumicino airport, an employee dons protective gear to check-in luggage from WuhanAFPCopyright: AFPThe departures board in Wuhan’s airport on Thursday had one main messageImage caption: The departures board in Wuhan’s airport on Thursday had one main messagePosted at 11:5811:58Why hasn’t the WHO declared a global emergency?James GallagherHealth and science correspondent, BBC NewsDon’t rule it out yet, but this is not a clear-cut decision.After a full day of deliberations on Wednesday, the World Health Organization’s
emergency committee was split on whether to declare a global emergency. Instead
it is spending another day assessing the evidence.The challenge is the facts
are changing as scientists grapple with key questions such as how easily the
coronavirus spreads from person to person and what is the true scale of the
outbreak beyond those appearing in hospital.Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO
director-general, said it was an “evolving and complex situation” and that
“appropriate consideration of all the evidence” was needed.There are three
tests that need to be passed before declaring a public health emergency of
international concern. It must be an “extraordinary event” with a risk of
“international spread” that requires a “co-ordinated international response”.Posted at 11:5211:52Wuhan mayor acknowledges criticismThe mayor of Wuhan has acknowledged that officials were too slow to control the disease. Zhou Xianwang said the authorities didn’t fully understand the danger of the virus — or how quickly it would spread. The mayor has been criticised by some residents of Wuhan – a major transport hub – who say he should have acted quicker.Posted at 11:5111:51’This virus couldn’t have emerged at a worse time’Anna JonesBBC News, SingaporeEPACopyright: EPAA woman walks in Beijing’s Ritan Park past lanterns set up ahead of Chinese New YearImage caption: A woman walks in Beijing’s Ritan Park past lanterns set up ahead of Chinese New YearThe Beijing Daily newspaper reports that Beijing has cancelled large-scale events including some Chinese New Year celebrations as a precaution against the virus spreading.The cancelled events include many temple fairs, visits to which are a popular new year activity.What happens at Chinese New Year?This virus couldn’t have emerged at a worse time for Chinese people. The lunar
new year – the biggest holiday of the year – is this weekend. That’s when
people across China, as in all countries that mark the lunar calendar, get
together with their families for reunion dinners and celebrations. In China
alone, hundreds of millions of people travel often vast distances to get home. For many
it’s their only break in the year and the only time to see their loved ones.That makes for the world’s biggest annual human migration – before the coronavirus outbreak some 440 million rail journeys were expected to be made and nearly 80 million people were expected to take flights.For those in Wuhan, spending the holiday cooped up at home instead, and worrying about the
virus, will be a miserable experience for many, many people.Posted at 11:3711:37Wuhan still calm – for nowGrace TsoiBBC World Service, Hong KongI’ve been
trying to look for people in Wuhan to talk about how life is like after the
city was put into a lockdown, but many are not willing to speak on record for
fear of possible repercussions.The city is quiet – also partly because the Chinese New Year is coming this
Saturday. Wuhan is a major transportation hub and home to many universities. People are worried about the spread of the disease, but things
are still calm for now.
Some of the people told me they were going to stay home during the Chinese New
Year holiday, instead of visiting relatives, to minimise contact with
others. Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesMost are wearing face masks now, which didn’t happen before – and some are blaming the government for not revealing the severity of the outbreak. One told me only pharmacies and supermarkets are still open.But hospitals are full and patients need to wait for four to five hours just to see doctors, even when they display respiratory symptoms.Posted at 11:2911:29Where have cases been detected?There have been cases in several Chinese cities and also in other countries including Thailand and the US.BBCCopyright: BBCPosted at 11:2311:23’Unprecedented in public health history'”The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health history,” an official from the World Health Organisation told Reuters news agency.Gauden Galea, a representative of the organisation in Beijing, added that “it is certainly not a recommendation
the WHO has made,” the news agency said.But the dramatic move shows “the commitment to contain the epidemic”, he said.The WHO, meanwhile, is considering whether or not to declare a global emergency over the outbreak, though it opted not to do so on Wednesday.Posted at 11:1911:19’I wasn’t sure I could get out of Wuhan’Video contentVideo caption: Coronavirus: British passenger ‘wasn’t sure’ he could get out of Wuhan’Coronavirus: British passenger ‘wasn’t sure’ he could get out of Wuhan’Briton Thomas Crosby has told the BBC he was surprised there wasn’t more screening as he travelled from Wuhan to London.Authorities in Wuhan have since suspended all public transport into and out of the city.Posted at 11:1311:13What’s coming out of Wuhan?Residents in Wuhan are feeling the stress of the outbreak.”We are feeling as though it is the end of the world,” AFP quoted one local as saying. “We really need everyone’s help.” One taxi driver working the streets told the news agency: “It’s very dangerous to be outside at this moment but we need to earn money” – and that drivers had tripled their usual fares.Some news organisations have pulled their teams from Wuhan. CBS News left just before the lockdown began last night – but their reporter said that almost every person in the airport was masked with whatever they could find to protect themselves.That same caution is reflected by the officials.Officials are using special cameras at the airport to check passengers’ body temperatures – and if they did get to leave, were screened again upon arrival in places like Beijing and Hong Kong.AFPCopyright: AFPPosted at 11:1011:10Third city shuts train stationsAnother city, Ezhou – a city of a million people across the Yangtze river from Huanggang – said on
Thursday it had shut its train stations.Posted at 11:0411:04What do we know about Huanggang?Huanggang is the second city to have major restrictions placed on it as authorities try to halt the spread of the newly-discovered virus.With a population of more than seven million people, it’s a major population centre – London, for example, has about eight million residents.It’s situated about 70km from Wuhan, the first city to be put on lockdown. Reuters reports there have been 12 cases there up to the end of Monday.For residents of Huanggang, the bus and train networks will be closed at the end of Thursday, local time (five hours from now).Citizens have been asked not to leave by other means, either.And in the city itself, normal life is set to be disrupted, as public spaces like cinemas and cafes will be shut.Posted at 10:5510:55Wuhan doctor: ‘I’m scared’A doctor at a hospital in the city spoke to the BBCQuote Message: The virus is now spreading at an alarming rate. The hospitals have been flooding with thousands of patients, who wait hours to see a doctor – you can imagine their panic. The virus is now spreading at an alarming rate. The hospitals have been flooding with thousands of patients, who wait hours to see a doctor – you can imagine their panic.Quote Message: Normally Wuhan is a great place to live and we are proud of our work – specialists here have developed a guide for coronavirus diagnosis and treatment. But I am scared because this is a new virus and the figures are worrying. Normally Wuhan is a great place to live and we are proud of our work – specialists here have developed a guide for coronavirus diagnosis and treatment. But I am scared because this is a new virus and the figures are worrying.Quote Message: Two days ago we were told not to go to work because of the risk of contamination. If we leave our home on the hospital campus, we are required to wear masks. Two days ago we were told not to go to work because of the risk of contamination. If we leave our home on the hospital campus, we are required to wear masks.Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesThe Central Hospital of Wuhan released images of patients being treated there on ThursdayImage caption: The Central Hospital of Wuhan released images of patients being treated there on ThursdayQuote Message: We don’t want to take our two-year-old son outside. He’s sleeping now, and we are trying to protect him as much as possible – hand-washing, airing the apartment, avoiding contact with people. Outside I can barely see anyone on the streets. We have been told to avoid gathering. We don’t want to take our two-year-old son outside. He’s sleeping now, and we are trying to protect him as much as possible – hand-washing, airing the apartment, avoiding contact with people. Outside I can barely see anyone on the streets. We have been told to avoid gathering.Quote Message: I went to the supermarket to buy food, but there was nothing left – no vegetables or biscuits. Some Lunar New Year celebrations are cancelled. People had bought tickets to go home for Lunar New Year but they can’t go now. Everyone is stuck here and can’t leave. I went to the supermarket to buy food, but there was nothing left – no vegetables or biscuits. Some Lunar New Year celebrations are cancelled. People had bought tickets to go home for Lunar New Year but they can’t go now. Everyone is stuck here and can’t leave.Posted at 10:5010:50How the virus has spreadIn a little more than three weeks, we have gone from the first case reported to seeing two major cities going into lockdown. Here’s how we got to this point.31 December: China alerts the World Health Organisation about a spate of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan
1 January: The seafood/animal market believed to be at the centre of the outbreak is closed
9 January: WHO says the infection is caused by a new type of coronavirus
11 January: First death confirmed
13 January: Virus spreads abroad, with a suspected case in Thailand
20 January: Outbreak spreads to Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai; Chinese officials confirm human-to-human transmission
21 January: US authorities announce the first case in North America – a man who had visited Wuhan
22 January: Death toll climbs to 17, with more than 500 cases confirmed
23 January: Wuhan, population 11 million, goes into lockdown. Authorities announce similar measures in the nearby city of Huanggang from midnight local time

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