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Thursday
February 2020
9:30 AM IST
News Headlines
Ishant is hitting good areas, Prithvi should follow instincts: Kohli hints on playing XI        PCB chief hints at Pakistan giving up Asia Cup hosting rights        First 5G handset in India likely to be priced at Rs 50,000        Coronavirus outbreak to hit global growth; to have limited impact on India: RBI Guv        Death toll from China virus surges past 2,000        Necessary to prevent statelessness when nationality laws are changed: UN chief        Maha CM visits Shivneri Fort on Shivaji''s birth anniversary        Can transport minister come to explain govt proposal for introducing EVs, asks SC        SC upheld right to protest but other citizens also have rights: Interlocutors at Shaheen Bagh        Won't rule out playing 2023 World Cup, says Taylor        Sachin Tendulkar wins Laureus Sporting Moment Award for 2011 WC triumph        Messi, Hamilton share Laureus World Sportsman of Year honour; Biles gets third award        Kerala tourism eyes robust growth in domestic tourist footfalls in 2020        RBI Governor says no reason to doubt govt will meet fiscal deficit targets        UK budget on March 11 as planned: new finance minister        Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus        Opening of Kartarpur Corridor practical proof of Pakistan's desire for peace, says UN chief        People of Delhi taught a lesson to BJP which it will remember for long time: Gehlot        Delhi court sends Sharjeel to judicial custody till Mar 3 in New Friends Colony anti-CAA violence case        Prashant Kishor questions Nitish Kumar's development in Bihar        
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Main News
China shuts down more cities in bid to contain deadly virus
 
Beijing: China decided on Thursday to lock down three cities that are home to more than 18 million people in an unprecedented effort to try to contain a deadly new viral illness that has sickened hundreds and spread to other cities and countries in the Lunar New Year travel rush. Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops guarded Wuhan''s train station, where metal barriers blocked the entrances at 10 a.m. sharp (local time). Only travellers holding tickets for the last trains were allowed to enter, with those booked for later trains being turned away. Normally bustling streets, shopping malls, restaurants and other public spaces in the city of 11 million people were eerily quiet.

In addition to the train station, airport, ferry, subway and bus services were also halted. Similar measures will take effect from Friday in the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou. In Huanggang, theaters, internet cafes and other entertainment centers were also ordered closed. In Beijing, authorities cancelled "major events" indefinitely, including traditional temple fairs that are a staple of holiday celebrations, according to an announcement by the city''s bureau of culture and tourism. It said it was needed to "execute epidemic prevention and control." "To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science," Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization''s representative in China, told The Associated Press.

"It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work." The illnesses from a newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China''s Hubei province. The vast majority of mainland China''s 571 cases have been in the city. Other cases have been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. One case was confirmed on Thursday in Hong Kong after one was earlier confirmed in Macao. Most cases outside China were people from Wuhan or who had recently traveled there.

A total of 17 people have died, all of them in and around Wuhan. Their average age was 73, with the oldest 89 and the youngest 48. Images obtained from inside Wuhan following the closure showed long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets, as residents stocked up for what could be weeks of relative isolation. That appeared to be an over-reaction, since no restrictions have been placed on trucks carrying supplies into the city, although many Chinese still have strong memories of shortages and privations in the years before the country''s recent economic boom. Such sweeping measures are typical of China''s authoritarian communist government, although their effectiveness in containing the outbreak remains uncertain.

Local authorities in Wuhan have demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged government staff to wear them at work and for shopkeepers to post signs for their visitors, Xinhua news agency quoted a government notice as saying. Xinhua cited the city''s anti-virus task force as saying the measures were taken in an attempt to "effectively cut off the virus spread, resolutely curb the outbreak and guarantee the people''s health and safety." The significant increase in illnesses reported just this week come as millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year, one of the world''s largest annual migrations of people. Chinese are expected to take an estimated 3 billion trips during the 40-day spike in travel.

Analysts have predicted the reported cases will continue to multiply. "Even if (the number of cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us," the WHO''s Galea said, adding, however, that the number of cases is not an indicator of the outbreak''s severity, so long as the mortality rate remains low. The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, which developed from camels.

China is keen to avoid repeating mistakes with its handling of SARS. For months, even after the illness had spread around the world, China parked patients in hotels and drove them around in ambulances to conceal the true number of cases and avoid WHO experts. In the current outbreak, China has been credited with sharing information rapidly, and President Xi Jinping has emphasized that as a priority. "Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels must put people''s lives and health first,” Xi said Monday. "It is necessary to release epidemic information in a timely manner and deepen international cooperation."

Health authorities were taking extraordinary measures to prevent additional person-to-person transmissions, placing those suspected to be infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes where air passed through filters. The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, which has since been closed for an investigation. Experts suspect the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but the virus also may be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious.

WHO plans another meeting of scientific experts on Thursday on whether to recommend declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, which it defines as an "extraordinary event" that constitutes a risk to other countries. Many countries are screening travellers from China for illness.


SC upheld right to protest but other citizens also have rights: Interlocutors at Shaheen Bagh
Sachin Tendulkar wins Laureus Sporting Moment Award for 2011 WC triumph
Prashant Kishor questions Nitish Kumar's development in Bihar
India to send consignment of medical supplies to China later this week to combat coronavirus
Starting third stint as CM, Kejriwal seeks PM Modi''s ''blessings'' for Delhi''s development, ''forgives'' rivals for remarks
17 people from Delhi who returned from abroad before coronavirus screening showed symptoms, hospitalised
Rahul asks who benefitted from Pulwama strike, BJP calls him LeT and Jaish sympathiser
No rifles missing says police, as opposition slams govt, DGP
Pak court sentences Hafiz Saeed to 11 years in jail in terror financing cases
AAP registers historic victory in Delhi polls, BJP trounced; opposition hails it as defeat of ''hate politics''
Supreme Court upholds constitutional validity of SC/ST Amendment Act, 2018
Coronavirus death toll in China climbs to 811
Delhi records voter turnout of 57 pc till 6 pm; figure likely to rise: Poll official
Ruckus in LS over Vardhan's attack on Rahul for 'danda' remark against PM, both sides demand apology
Modi says fundamentals of Indian economy strong
If Kejriwal is terrorist, arrest him: AAP dares BJP
No new Coronavirus cases reported from Kerala, over 2,400 under watch
Third coronavirus case reported from India
Second coronavirus case in India; 323 more Indians and 7 Maldivians evacuated by air
Budget cuts personal income tax, raises customs duty
KERALA NEWS
Two forest dept officials killed in wildfire
 Thrissur: Two forest department officials were on Sunday charred to death in a wildfire at Wadakkanc  
CPI(M) expels two student activists held for Maoist links
Surendran new Kerala BJP President
Student who tested Positive for coronavirus discharged
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Death toll from China virus surges past 2,000
 Beijing, Feb 19 (PTI) The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China crossed the 2,000-mark o
Necessary to prevent statelessness when nationality laws are changed: UN chief
UK budget on March 11 as planned: new finance minister
Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus
NATIONAL NEWS
Maha CM visits Shivneri Fort on Shivaji''s birth anniversary
 Mumbai, Feb 19 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visited the Shivneri Fort in Pune d
Can transport minister come to explain govt proposal for introducing EVs, asks SC
People of Delhi taught a lesson to BJP which it will remember for long time: Gehlot
Delhi court sends Sharjeel to judicial custody till Mar 3 in New Friends Colony anti-CAA violence case
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