(TibetanReview.net, Feb03’20) – The numbers of suspected and confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus and the deaths from it continue to rise steeply in China while India’s Kerala state has just reported the third confirmed case in the country. Meanwhile Pakistan has resumed flight operations to and from China after suspending it on Jan 29 and refused to lift its citizens stranded in Wuhan.
The total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 17,205 by the end of Feb 2, with the total of 361 people having died of the disease, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 3, citing the country’s National Health Commission. These included 5,173 new suspected cases and 57 deaths on Feb 2 alone.
Also on Feb 2, 186 patients were reported to have become seriously ill while 147 were discharged from hospital after recovery, taking the total number of discharges thus far to 475.
The commission has added that 2,296 patients remained in severe condition and 21,558 people were suspected of being infected with the virus.
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In India, the state of Kerala announced its third confirmed case of infection from the virus on Feb 3, with the patient being also a recent returnee from Wuhan, China.
On Feb2 India announced a temporary suspension of e-visa facility for all travellers from China and issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since Jan 15 could be quarantined.
The infection has spread to around 25 countries so far, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, India, Nepal and Canada. The Philippines remains the only country so far to report a death from it outside China.
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Also on Feb 2, China’s all-weather friend Pakistan announced that it would immediately resume suspended flight operations to and from coronavirus-hit China following its suspension order on Jan 29.
Pakistan has also refused to bring back its citizens stranded in China, citing WHO’s recommendations. Around 30,000 Pakistanis, including a large number of students, were based in China, said aa.com.tr Feb2.
The report said that over 500 students from Pakistan currently resided in Wuhan and that at least four of them in central Wuhan had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus infection. No infections have been confirmed in Pakistan so far.
Ten Pakistani students stranded in China had taken a Thai airline flight and reached the Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore, reported thenews.com.pk Feb 3.
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In China getting treatment was stated to be difficult because of shortages of everything and many residents were reported to believe the virus had already spread much further than the official numbers suggested.
“The situation that we’ve seen is much worse than what has been officially reported,” nytimes.com Feb 2 quoted Long Jian, 32, as saying outside a hospital in Wuhan where his elderly father was being treated. Long has said his father had to go to six hospitals and wait seven days before he could even be tested for the coronavirus.
Beds could be seen lining both sides of a narrow corridor in the emergency room. One man was getting an intravenous drip outside in his car, the report noted.
“Those who can get diagnosed and treated are the lucky ones,” Long has said. “In our neighborhood, many who weren’t able to get diagnosed ended up dying at home.”
Getting treatment for the infection requires clearing a number bureaucratic hurdles.
The official guidelines require patients to first go to their local hospitals for initial assessments and sometimes prescriptions. Then patients have to deliver the results to their local neighborhood committees, which are responsible for communicating with the hospitals and coordinating resources for the households in their areas. There are about 1,000 neighborhood committees in Wuhan, for a population of 11 million, the report noted.
Patients with mild symptoms are typically told to go home and self-quarantine, the report cited a Jan 24 notice by city officials as saying. Those who have more severe symptoms are flagged by the neighborhood committees, which arrange for transportation by ambulance to one of the two dozen or so hospitals designated for treating the coronavirus.
The report cited patients and their relatives as saying the process took far too long and that the bar for what constitutes “severe symptoms” has been set too high, with the result that most people give up and try waiting in long lines at hospitals instead.