Asia

China virus death toll surges past 2,000, but new cases fall for 2nd straight day

  BEIJING, China (AFP) — The death toll from China’s new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 2,000 on Wednesday after 136 more people died, with the number of new cases falling for a second straight day, according to the National Health Commission. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 74,185. The death toll rose to 2,004, with most of the deaths in central Hubei province, where the virus first emerged in […]

WHO urges calm as China virus death toll reaches 2,000

  by Laurent THOMET Agence France Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) — The death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak surged to 2,000 on Wednesday, as Chinese and international health officials warned against excessive measures to contain the epidemic. More than 74,000 people have now been infected by the virus in China, with hundreds more cases in some 25 countries. The situation remains serious at the epicentre, with the director of a hospital in the central […]

Virus-hit province rewards doctors’ children with extra exam points

BEIJING, China (AFP) — Children of China’s frontline medical workers battling the deadly coronavirus will be awarded extra exam points when applying for schools and higher education, local officials said Tuesday. Doctors and nurses in Hubei province — where the outbreak originated and which has reported the majority of deaths — have been lionized online and by state media. China’s schooling system places a major emphasis on exams, and even younger children face extreme competition […]

At least 14 dead in apparent toxic gas leak in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan (AFP) — An apparent gas leak killed at least 14 people near the Pakistani port city of Karachi, officials said Tuesday, as investigators worked to determine the source of the deadly emission. Residents of Keamari, a commercial and residential area, began falling sick Sunday, officials said. A doctor at one hospital, who asked not to be named, said 250 people had been admitted for treatment, after complaining of breathing difficulties and burning eyes. […]

Coronavirus cases top 500 on cruise ship off Japan

by Harumi OZAWA TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Another 88 people from a cruise ship off Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities said Tuesday, as those free of the disease hoped they were spending their last night on board before disembarking. The new cases take the total from the Diamond Princess to 542 — easily the biggest cluster outside the epicenter in China — as the cruise ship has proved an especially virulent breeding […]

Facebook blocks Singapore anti-govt page, slams misinformation law

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Facebook on Tuesday blocked the page of an anti-government website in Singapore following demand from authorities but slammed the “disproportionate” use of a controversial law against online misinformation. The widely criticized legislation gives ministers powers to order internet platforms and websites to put warnings next to posts they deem false, and also order pages be blocked in the tightly regulated city-state. Political website States Times Review (STR) — which regularly posts […]

Japan completes virus testing for quarantined ship

  by Harumi OZAWA Agence France Presse YOKOHAMA, Japan (AFP) — Japan said on Tuesday it had completed tests on a coronavirus-riddled cruise ship docked near Tokyo, as those free of the disease hoped to spend their last night aboard before disembarking. The Diamond Princess has become a particularly virulent breeding ground for the new coronavirus, with at least 454 infections among the 3,700 passengers and crew — easily the second-biggest global cluster outside the […]

Bare-faced robbery: thieves steal 6,000 hygiene masks in Japan

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Thieves in Japan have made off with some 6,000 surgical masks from a hospital, with the country facing a mass shortage and a huge price hike online due to the coronavirus. Four boxes containing the face masks disappeared from a locked storage facility at the Japanese Red Cross hospital in the western port city of Kobe, a hospital official said on Tuesday. “We still have a large number of masks — […]

Coronavirus cases top 500 on cruise ship off Japan

by Harumi OZAWA TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Another 88 people aboard a cruise ship off Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities said Tuesday, as those free of the disease hoped they were spending their last night on board before disembarking. The new cases take the total from the Diamond Princess to 542 — easily the biggest cluster outside the epicenter in China — as the cruise ship has proved an especially virulent breeding […]

Qatar says, talks stall with Saudi to defuse Gulf crisis

by Gregory WALTON DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Talks between Doha and Riyadh to resolve a two-year regional spat have stalled, Qatar’s foreign minister said, after a flurry of diplomacy late last year raised hopes the damaging rift was being healed. Saudi Arabia, along with its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut all diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017. The four governments accused Doha of backing radical Islamists, including […]

Shanghai virus hospital tries array of treatments in ‘big test’

by Noel CELIS SHANGHAI, China (AFP) — In a sprawling medical compound an hour’s drive from downtown Shanghai, doctors are employing a patchwork of coronavirus treatments in a race to save victims of an epidemic for which there is still no established cure. The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center is the designated facility for coronavirus cases in China’s biggest city, which was previously used to treat victims of the 2002-03 SARS epidemic (Severe Acute Respiratory […]

Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus

BEIJING, China (AFP) — A hospital director at the epicenter of China’s virus epidemic died Tuesday, state media said, the latest medical worker to fall victim to the coronavirus which has spread across the country. The COVID-19 virus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan late last year, has spread to more than 72,000 people and killed 1,900 in China. Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died Tuesday morning after “all-out […]