Coronavirus: UK draws up plan to airlift 200 Brits from China in mass evacuation
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is believed to have asked officials to look into a possible airlift of expats after initially saying they would leave them in China to avoid spreading the deadly virus in the UK
Two hundred British citizens who are trapped in Wuhan - the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus epidemic - will be rescued in a huge evacuation plan.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is believed to have asked officials to look into a possible airlift to rescue expats after the government initially said they would be left in China to avoid spreading the deadly virus in the UK.
But a source told the Mail on Sunday "a number of things need to fall into place on the Chinese side before we can make any firm promises".
Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to rule out a possible airlift of UK citizens from China.
She would not comment on the newspaper reports but told Sky News: “It’s right that we look at all options and that’s exactly what the government is doing right now.”
Containing new coronavirus may not be feasible, experts say, as they warn of possible sustained global spread
By HELEN BRANSWELL @helenbranswelljanuary 26, 2020
A video featuring doctors in masks plays in a subway station Sunday in Beijing. The number of cases of a new coronavirus rose to more than 2,000 in mainland China Sunday.
Some infectious disease experts are warning that it may no longer be feasible to contain the new coronavirus circulating in China. Failure to stop it there could see the virus spread in a sustained way around the world and even perhaps join the ranks of respiratory viruses that regularly infect people.
“The more we learn about it, the greater the possibility is that transmission will not be able to be controlled with public health measures,” said Dr. Allison McGeer, a Toronto-based infectious disease specialist who contracted SARS in 2003 and who helped Saudi Arabia control several hospital-based outbreaks of MERS.
If that’s the case, she said, “we’re living with a new human virus, and we’re going to find out if it will spread around the globe.” McGeer cautioned that because the true severity of the outbreak isn’t yet known, it’s impossible to predict what the impact of that spread would be, though she noted it would likely pose significant challenges to health care facilities.
The pessimistic assessment comes from both researchers studying the dynamics of the outbreak — the rate at which cases are rising in and emerging from China — and infectious diseases experts who are parsing the first published studies describing cases to see if public health tools such as isolation and quarantine could as effective in this outbreak as they were in the 2003 SARS epidemic.
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And the warnings come as the United States reported over the weekend finding three more cases, the country’s third, fourth, and fifth. Two were diagnosed in California. One is a traveler from Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have started, who was diagnosed in Orange County. The other is someone who visited Wuhan who was diagnosed in Los Angeles County. The fifth case was diagnosed in Arizona and is a student at Arizona State University; the person had also traveled to Wuhan.
Confirmed infections within China climbed to nearly 2,750 and the death toll rose to 80.
China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei, warned Sunday that the virus seems to be becoming more transmissible and the country — which has taken unprecedentedly draconian steps to control the virus — was entering a “crucial stage.”
China’s actions — which include shutting off flights and trains from some affected cities and effectively putting tens of millions of people into quarantine — may not be enough to stop the virus, experts said.
“Despite the enormous and admirable efforts in China and around the world, we need to plan for the possibility containment of this epidemic isn’t possible,” said Neil Ferguson, an infectious diseases epidemiology at Imperial College London who has issued a series of modeling studies on the outbreak.
There may be as many as 100,000 cases already in China, Ferguson told The Guardian newspaper on Sunday, adding the model suggests the number could be between 30,000 and 200,000 cases. “Almost certainly many tens of thousands of people are infected,” he told the British newspaper.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Sunday it is donating $10 million to the response to the virus. Half the money will be given to Chinese groups to help them in containment efforts. The other half will be given to the African Center for Disease Control to fund its efforts to help African countries prepare to have to cope with the new infection.
Also on Sunday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted that he is traveling to Beijing to meet with Chinese authorities to offer support and to learn more about the outbreak.
The WHO so far has not declared the outbreak a global health emergency, though Tedros, as he is know, has said the spread of the new virus is a crisis for China and a risk to countries beyond it. The WHO declined to label the outbreak a global health emergency of international concern on the advice of a panel of experts who met Wednesday and Thursday, though those experts were split on whether a PHEIC should be declared.
Related: New coronavirus can cause infections with no symptoms and sicken otherwise healthy people, studies show
This outbreak is caused by a virus — currently known as 2019-nCoV — that belongs to the same family as the viruses that caused the SARS outbreak and which cause sporadic flare-ups of cases of MERS on the Arabian Peninsula.
The SARS virus caused an explosive outbreak in late 2002 and early 2003, infecting more than 8,000 people around the globe and killing nearly 800 before it was contained. MERS has never caused a sustain global outbreak, though a number of large hospital-based outbreaks — including one in South Korea sparked by a businessman who contracted the virus in the Middle East — have been recorded.
One of the luckiest breaks the world got with the SARS outbreak was the fact that the virus did not transmit before people developed symptoms.
With some diseases, like influenza and measles, people who are infected but who are not yet feeling sick — people who are still going to work or school, taking public transit, shopping in malls, or going to movies — can pass the viruses to others.
Tools like quarantine and isolation — which were key to controlling SARS — are unlikely stop spread of a virus that can transmit during the period from infection to symptoms, experts say.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency knows transmission of the virus within the United States may be on the horizon.
“We’re leaning far forward. And we have been every step of the way with an aggressive stance to everything we can do in the U.S.,” she told STAT. “And yet those of us who have been around long enough know that everything we do might not be enough to stop this from spreading in the U.S.”
Related: Precautions are in place. Now U.S. hospitals and states ready for more cases of novel virus from China
To date, at least 14 countries and territories outside of mainland China have reported nearly 60 cases. There have been no reports yet of unchecked spreading from those imported cases to others.
“In hours where I’m feeling optimistic I think about the fact that none of the other countries, including the U.S., have seen significant sustained chains of transmission,” Messonnier said. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s not coming.”
It also appears that the incubation time — the time from infection to the development of symptoms — may be a bit shorter than that of SARS, McGeer said, citing a paper published Friday that described transmission within a family in Hong Kong. With SARS, most people developed symptoms about four or five days after infection, she said.
A short incubation period gives health authorities less time to track down and quarantine people who have been exposed to the virus and who are en route to becoming infectious.
Scientists who have been studying the genetic sequences of viruses from China and a few other of the countries that have recorded cases have calculated what is known as the reproductive rate of this outbreak — the number of people, on average, that each case will infect.
An outbreak with a reproductive number of below 1 will peter out. But a number of groups have calculated a reproductive rate for this current outbreak — known by the term R-naught or R0 — in the range of 2 to 3 or beyond.
Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, suggested the estimates are sobering and point to continued spread.
“If it’s not contained shortly, I think we are looking at a pandemic,” Bedford said, though he cautioned that it’s impossible to know at this point how severe that type of event would be.
Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, urged countries to start planning to deal with global spread of the new virus. Such plans need to include far more aggressive efforts to develop a vaccine than have already been announced, he suggested.
“I’m not making a prediction that it’s going to happen,” Inglesby said, though he noted the mathematical modeling, the statements from Chinese authorities, and the sharply rising infection numbers make a case for this possible outcome. “I think just based on those pieces of limited information, it’s important for us to begin some planning around the possibility that this won’t be contained.”
China races against the clock to build virus hospitals
,AFP•January 27, 2020
Hundreds of workers are toiling around the clock at the site of a field hospital that China is racing to build within days to treat a rapidly growing number of patients stricken by a deadly virus.
The outline of a floor began to take shape and electrical switchboards were already up on Monday when AFP reporters visited the site of the facility, dubbed "Fire God Mountain", being built in Wuhan, the central city where the coronavirus first emerged.
It is one of two makeshift hospitals that Chinese authorities are rushing to build within a fortnight in the city of 11 million people to relieve medical facilities swamped with patients waiting for hours to see doctors.
Work to build Fire God Mountain started Friday and is due to be ready to receive patients on February 3, according to state media. The second one, named "Thunder God Mountain", will be ready for use on February 5.
The construction workers all wore masks as mandated by the authorities for the entire population of the city, which has been under lockdown since Thursday.
They are checked for fevers when they arrived by bus and again during their breaks.
They worked around a forest of excavators and trucks bringing in prefab material at the site on the southwestern side of the city.
"We have to work fast to combat the epidemic," a worker in his 30s, who refused to give his name, told AFP.
He said he worked nine hours per day, "sometimes less, sometimes more. It depends on what they need".
- All workers mobilised -
The 25,000-square-metre hospital will have between 700 and 1,000 beds to treat patients of a pneumonia-like virus that has killed 81 people -- mostly in Wuhan -- and infected more than 2,700 across the country.
Israel & the White House Considering Suspension of Flights to China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Both Israel and the United States are considering an indefinite suspension of flights to China amid the Coronavirus outbreak; Israel to discuss barring entry for Chinese workers.
The governments of Israel and the United States are both considering an indefinite suspension of flights to China due to the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus. The virus came on the scene a couple of weeks ago in the city of Wuhan, China. Israel is even considering a ban on Chinese workers until this gets sorted out. 132 people are reported to have died so far with over 6,000 cases being reported in China, a number that is quickly rising.
While the cause of the virus is technically “unknown” at this time and much blame is being given to something being passed from wild animals to humans via the wildlife trade markets, an Israeli biological warfare expert and others are looking in a different direction. Wuhan is the site of one of China’s biological warfare laboratories and there is logical concern that this may be the source of the virus. The US voiced in a past report their concern that China was continuing to experiment in the realm of biological warfare.
As of right now, a US official has stated that “The White House did not call the airlines and hasn’t asked for a suspension of flights between the U.S. and China.” Similarly, Israel has not made a final decision as of late Tuesday, but they are considering a suspension on flights both to and from China.
7,000 stuck on cruise ship off Italian coast amid coronavirus concerns
Thursday, January 30, 2020 2:39PM
About 7,000 people are being held on an Italian cruise ship after a woman on board fell ill amid fears of the deadly new coronavirus outbreak that originated in China.
The Costa Smeralda Vessel is currently being held off the coast, 35 miles north of Rome.
The 54-year-old woman, who reportedly came down with a fever and other flu-like symptoms, was put into isolation along with her husband. The couple was from Macao, an autonomous region on the south coast of China.
"All the planned mechanisms were activated," Italian Coast Guard Cmdr. Vincenzo Leone said at the port of Civitavecchia. "Health authorities are on board, doing checks. The situation is under control. There's a security cordon on the dock."
At this time, roughly 6,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members will not be allowed to leave until the woman's test results return. The results are due back this afternoon.
The ship was sailing from Mallorca, Spain, to Civitavecchia on a weeklong Mediterranean cruise. Later Thursday, just over 1,000 passengers were allowed off the ship for a walk through sunny Rome.
This comes after the World Health Organization held an emergency meeting Thursday morning to decide whether to declare the outbreak a public health emergency.
Meanwhile, the number of cases is growing worldwide, with at least 170 deaths and more than 7,800 people affected.
Post by schwartzie on Jan 31, 2020 18:52:32 GMT -5
NEW INTEL!!!: Corona Virus Has 4 HIV genes inserted in. It appears to be bioengineered
Just to clarify: There are multiple genes inserted in the Corona Virus that are from HIV. The inserted genes help with virus hardiness and infectivity. It does not mean the Corona Virus and HIV share similar symptoms or other similarities.
A way to think about it would be taking a slow car and putting a bigger engine in it. The original car does not change, just some of it's abilities change.
The author of the paper basically comes to the conclusion that it is most likely a bio-engineered virus (without explicitly stating it for scientific reasons). Expect more news on this later.
I haven't found a second source to confirm this, so for now take it with a grain of salt.
Breaking news: China will admit coronavirus coming from its P4 lab
By GM35 -2020-01-25 14:423738866
The Chinese Communist Party will finally admit that the real source of the coronavirus is from “a lab in Wuhan” linked to its covert biological weapon programs.
As the “novel” coronavirus originated in Wuhan is spreading to ten countries, more and more people including international bio-weapon experts are questioning its link to the Wuhan P4 lab located about 20 miles from a seafood market where the first few cases of human infections were found.
A reliable source, one of the Chinese kleptocrats, told Miles Guo today that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will admit to the public of an “accidental” leak of lab-created virus from a P4 lab in Wuhan to put blames on “human errors”. But the official announcement is still being finalized.
Initially, the Chinese communist’s propaganda machines were blaming the virus on wild animals like bats by showing many videos of people eating bats.
Four “Generations” of Spread Seen with Virus in China, Alarming Experts
Evidence suggests at least one Chinese patient ignited a chain of human-to-human transmission
By Helen Branswell, STAT on January 24, 2020
Four "Generations" of Spread Seen with Virus in China, Alarming Experts
Credit: Getty Images
Emerging data on the new virus circulating in China adds to evidence there is sustained human-to-human transmission in the city of Wuhan, and that a single case was able to ignite a chain of other infections.
The World Health Organization reported Thursday that there have been at least four generations of spread of the new virus, provisionally called 2019-nCoV, meaning a person who contracted the virus from a non-human source—presumably an animal—has infected a person, who infected another person, who then infected another person.
It’s not clear from a WHO statement whether transmission petered out after that point, or whether further generations of cases from those chains are still to come.
The WHO said the current estimate of the reproductive rate of the virus—the number of people, on average, that each infected person infects—is between 1.4 and 2.5. To stop an outbreak, the reproduction number has to be brought below one.
The New Coronavirus Outbreak: What We Know So Far
Read more from this special report:
The New Coronavirus Outbreak: What We Know So Far
“That gives me no comfort at all that anything that’s happening right now is going to bring this under control any time soon,” Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said of the data the WHO released.
“And I think that as long as the virus is circulating in China as it appears to be, the rest of the world is going to be constantly pinged with it, as a result of people traveling to and from China in the near future,” he said.
To date, nine other countries, including the United States, have diagnosed cases of this new illness in tourists who traveled to Wuhan or residents who returned from there.
Dr. Allison McGeer, who has firsthand experience with outbreaks caused by coronaviruses—the family to which 2019-nCoV belongs—also expressed concern about prospects for containing the outbreak.
McGeer, a researcher at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, noted that the city’s SARS outbreak took off when fourth-generation cases were infected in the city’s hospitals. McGeer contracted SARS during that outbreak.
The WHO released the information in a statement following a press conference during which Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the global health agency was not yet ready to declare the rapidly evolving outbreak in China a global health emergency.
The decision was based on advice from a committee of outside experts. That committee was effectively split about whether the outbreak constitutes what is known as a global health emergency of international concern.
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“Make no mistake: This is an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one,’’ Tedros, as he is known, said.
China has effectively quarantined eight cities—home to tens of millions of people—to try to contain spread of the virus. The move comes as much of the country is traveling to be with family to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is Saturday. Guangdong province, which has reported rising numbers of cases, has declared a public health emergency.
China first informed the WHO of the outbreak on Dec. 31, and developments have been rapid in the just over three weeks since then. As of Thursday the global case count was approaching 600, with at least 17 deaths.
A University of Hong Kong study published in the online journal Eurosurveillance on Thursday said the emerging evidence points to sustained person-to-person spread of the virus in Wuhan.
The paper mapped out two possible scenarios of how the virus is spreading. The first involved many of the cases having been infected by exposure to as-yet unidentified animals; the second depicted a situation where some people were infected by animals in early December, with person-to-person spread accounting for the bulk of cases since.
The early evidence “was most consistent with limited human-to-human transmissibility, however more recent data seem to be increasingly more compatible with scenario 2 in which sustained human-to-human transmission has been occurring,” the team reported. The senior author of the paper was Gabriel Leung, dean of medicine at the university.