Where Has the Novel Coronavirus Spread to?
(Minghui.org) One month after the lockdown of Wuhan in China, 48 countries in six continents have reported infection cases of the novel coronavirus, with cases emerging in South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran in the past few days.
Outside of China, the 47 countries and regions that have been affected include: South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Singapore, Hong Kong, United States, Thailand, Bahrain, Taiwan, Germany, Kuwait, Australia, Malaysia, France, Vietnam, Britain, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Macau, Iraq, Switzerland, Oman, Philippines, Croatia, India, Austria, Finland, Israel, Russia, Sweden, Lebanon, Pakistan, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Afghanistan, Algeria, Greece, Georgia, Norway, North Macedonia, Romania, Denmark and Estonia.
Most Patients Have Wuhan Travel History or Contact History
Among the cases that have been reported in countries outside of China, most of them have been to Wuhan or Hubei Province or have had contact with people coming from those regions in the past month.
According to the Department of Health in Malaysia, all of the coronavirus patients reported in the country were Chinese citizens. Thailand only had one patient that was a Thai citizen who had just come back from Wuhan, and the rest of the patients were Chinese citizens.
For the cases in Hong Kong, half of them came from mainland China through high-speed railway.
For the cases in Vietnam, except for a few Chinese visitors from Wuhan, most of the patients were Vietnamese traveling back from Wuhan.
The first case in Cambodia was a 60-year-old male from Wuhan.
The first case in Philippine is was a 38-year-old female who arrived on January 21, 2020 from Wuhan. She went to a local hospital four days after landing.
The first case in Nepal was a 32-year-old Chinese student.
The cases in Japan, including a tourist bus driver and a guide, haven’t been to China recently, but were infected by Chinese tourists they had received in the past few weeks. Three Japanese evacuees from Wuhan also tested positive for coronavirus. In addition, the cruise ship “Diamond Princess” quarantined in Japan had more than 600 infection cases.
The first three cases in France recently traveled to China, while the first case in Germany, a 33-year-old male, was infected by his Chinese colleague, who had gone to Germany on a short business trip.
The first cases in United Arab Emirates were a family of four from Wuhan, who were confirmed to carry the virus a few days after landing.
The first case in Sri Lanka was a 43-year-old tourist from Hubei Province.
The first case in Canada was a male in his 50s who recently came back from Wuhan and the first two cases in Italy were Chinese tourists.
Epidemic Outside of China
Currently, South Korea has the second most infection cases. Within one week, the confirmed cases rose from dozens to more than 2,000. Most of the infected Koreans are members of the Shincheonji church, who contracted the virus through their hours-long services in a packed venue in Daegu. The Shincheonji church was established in the 1980s and is reported to have 250,000 members.
Other than South Korea, infection cases are also emerging in Italy since February 20. Beatrice Lorenzin, a former Italian health minister, believed that the virus was brought in by travelers from China through indirect flights, who didn’t declare their original departure flights or exercise self-quarantine during incubation periods while traveling in Italy.
So far, at least 10 towns have been locked down in Italy. Some schools have been closed until the end of February. Major sports events and performances at La Scala Opera House were were also canceled. One world renowned fashion show in Milan was only seen online, with no live audience.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the U.S. has upgraded its travel notice to Italy as a level 2 warning, which urges travelers to Italy to use special precautions for the high-risk of infection.
Meanwhile, the first cases in Greece, Brazil, and Austria were reported to have had travel history in Italy.
Just last week, Austria suspended a train from Italy after two passengers showed signs of possible coronavirus infection. The train service was later resumed after the two passengers had tested negative.
Iran has become a hotbed for coronavirus in the Middle East, reporting 245 cases and 26 deaths. Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain soon found infected cases that had links to Iran.
In France, Olivier Veran, French Health Minister, announced during a press conference on February 27 that 15 million masks will be distributed to pharmacies all over the country. The French authorities are also demanding that all students who have recently traveled to regions hit hard by the epidemic to exercise self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
In the U.S., the CDC has warned Americans of the coronavirus outbreak and clusters of infections in local communities on February 25. Hospitals, schools and businesses are urged to start preparing for “social distancing measures.”
Questions Remain Unanswered
More than two months have passed since the first infection case was reported, but many questions remain unanswered: what is the origin of the new deadly virus? How is the virus being transmitted? How do asymptomatic patients spread the virus to others? Will patients recovered from the virus still carry the virus or become infected again?
The Uncounted Deaths
On February 26, China reported 78,190 confirmed cases and 2,718 deaths.
Yang Jingjing, a Wuhan resident, however, certainly doesn't believe the official number provided by the Chinese government.
Yang, a 28-year-old real estate agent, told Voice of America that just one month ago, she was like everyone else who had placed their full trust in the Chinese government. But one month later, her world collapsed, after the police told her that someone found her father’s body on the street – he had been dead for a few days.
Yang said her father was infected with the virus, but didn’t tell her or her mother, who were isolated in another location in Wuhan. After looking at his cellphone, Yang realized that her father had been seeking help from the local residential committee in his final days after he had a fever and difficulty breathing.
The officials repeatedly rejected him and said, “I think you are completely fine. You are just thinking too much. Don’t you agree?”
On February 16, Yang’s father, Yang Yuanyun, 51, left home without bringing his cellphone or wallet. “I’ll have to go now. Sorry I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with you. There is no place for me to hide.” he wrote the final message to his wife. The message was never sent, but was found in the draft box.
Fanggang, an author trapped in Wuhan during the lockdown, wrote in the “Lockdown Diary,” “Wuhan is now the center of a disaster. What is a disaster? It isn’t to ask you to wear a mask, lock you at home for days, or ask you to show a pass entering or leaving your subdivision.
“Disaster is that the number of death certificates issued in a few days now is about the same as that issued in several months in the past; disaster is that a funeral van which used to transport just one body in a casket is now loaded with bodies put in body bags; and disaster isn’t that one person in a family dies, but the entire family dies in a few days or weeks.”