Coronavirus: China fumes over Ningxia case as virus spreads to every continent except Antarctica


The coronavirus has now been detected on every continent on Earth except Antarctica, leading to new fears in China about how to keep the virus out.

With Brazil confirming Latin America’s first case of the virus, the potentially deadly disease has now reached every corner of the globe after emerging in Wuhan in late 2019.

As officials around the world battle to contain the disease that experts believe can spread without users showing symptoms, China is now facing a fresh challenge – keeping it out.

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This week the number of new cases of the virus outside China exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Now, news that the infection had been carried into the country by a traveller from Iran raised the ire of users on social media. Many fumed the drastic lockdown measures the country had taken may have been in vain.

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media_cameraA worker in Beijing removes Lunar New Year decorations from a street in China. Picture: GREG BAKER / AFP.
More than $4 trillion has been wiped from share markets as factories are shuttered and events cancelled over the disease outbreak. Picture: AP/Photo/Kin Cheung.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1582810377_400_Coronavirus-China-fumes-over-Ningxia-case-as-virus-spreads-to.webp”/>
media_cameraMore than $4 trillion has been wiped from share markets as factories are shuttered and events cancelled over the disease outbreak. Picture: AP/Photo/Kin Cheung.

China’s local authorities said a case of “imported coronavirus” had been found in the Ningxia region, after a 23-year old translator returned from Iran where he worked.

A detailed report in state media said the man, known as Ding, travelled via Moscow, used a ride sharing app and took an overnight train.

A hashtag about the Ningxia case ratcheted up 100 million views on China’s Weibo platform.

“So many domestic efforts can’t be wasted because of the overseas arrival!” one online user wrote in a comment echoed by many others.

One user pointed out that the patient came back into China along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative — President Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure project.

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China is now facing the ironic possibility of adopting “targeted prevention and control measures” for those coming into the country. People landing in the Chinese capital from countries hit by the epidemic will have to self-quarantine.

It comes after other countries around the world banned flights from China in a bid to stop the virus getting out.

A man in South Korea is taking no chances. Picture: Jung Yeon-je / AFP.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Coronavirus-China-fumes-over-Ningxia-case-as-virus-spreads-to.jpeg”/>
media_cameraA man in South Korea is taking no chances. Picture: Jung Yeon-je / AFP.

The new virus has infected more than 82,000 people and killed 2,800 worldwide since it originated in late December in China’s Hubei province

Northern Italy, South Korea, Japan and Iran have been particularly hard hit. Eleven towns in Italy have been locked down while authorities work to track the source of the disease. It has also spread throughout Europe’s open border network, including to Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Greece.

“Viruses don’t know borders and they don’t stop at them,” said Roberto Speranza, the Italian health minister, as towns in the country’s north remained under armed guard and supermarket shelves were bare.

A South Korean medical worker takes a phonecall in the country that has the highest number outside of China. Picture: Jung Yeon-je / AFP.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1582810382_0_Coronavirus-China-fumes-over-Ningxia-case-as-virus-spreads-to.jpeg”/>
media_cameraA South Korean medical worker takes a phonecall in the country that has the highest number outside of China. Picture: Jung Yeon-je / AFP.

EVENTS, FLIGHTS CANCELLED

Countries around the world are scambling to contain the outbreak with flights and major events cancelled at short notice to prevent crowds mingling and spreading the disease.

Fear over the impact the virus could have has seen $A4.6 trillion wiped from the stock market this week. US Treasuries yields hit record lows on Thursday as the coronavirus spread faster outside China and investors fled to safe havens.

In Japan, nearly 13 million students have been told to stay home from 34,847 schools until spring holidays in late March.

“The coming week or two is an extremely important time,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. “This is to prioritise the health and safety of the children and take precautions to avoid the risk of possible large-scale infections for many children and teachers who gather and spend hours together every day.”

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the virus won’t stop at borders, as northern Italy grapples to get a hold on the outbreak. Picture: Tiziana FABI / AFP.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1582810384_123_Coronavirus-China-fumes-over-Ningxia-case-as-virus-spreads-to.jpeg”/>
media_cameraItalian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the virus won’t stop at borders, as northern Italy grapples to get a hold on the outbreak. Picture: Tiziana FABI / AFP.
The school that Princess Charlotte and Prince George attend has four students in self-isolation over the coronavirus. Picture: Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1582810386_532_Coronavirus-China-fumes-over-Ningxia-case-as-virus-spreads-to.jpeg”/>
media_cameraThe school that Princess Charlotte and Prince George attend has four students in self-isolation over the coronavirus. Picture: Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images.

In the UK 15 cases have been confirmed and several schools have been shut down with some pupils told to self-isolate after trips to Italy. St Thomas’s Battersea – where Prince George, 6, and Prince Charlotte, 4, attend, is among those where four students are staying home due to virus fears.

St Thomas’s said: “Like all schools, we are taking very seriously the potential risks related to the spread of Covid-19 and to this end we are following the Government’s instructions to the letter on infection prevention and case management in which it is suspected that some staff member or students exposed to the virus or showing any symptoms.

“We currently have a very small number of students who have been evaluated and these individuals currently remain in their homes waiting to receive the results of their exams.

“All parents have been informed and we have maintained regular communication with our school community to ensure that councils are shared and important information circulated.

A member of the Iraqi civil defence disinfects the Great Mosque of Kufa in Iraq. Picture: Haidar HAMDANI / AFP.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1582810388_799_Coronavirus-China-fumes-over-Ningxia-case-as-virus-spreads-to.webp”/>
media_cameraA member of the Iraqi civil defence disinfects the Great Mosque of Kufa in Iraq. Picture: Haidar HAMDANI / AFP.
Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba (Tawaf al-Wadaa), Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Saudi Arabia suspended visas for visits to Islam's holiest sites for the "umrah" pilgrimage in an unprecedented move. Picture: Abdulghani BASHEER / AFP.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1582810391_563_Coronavirus-China-fumes-over-Ningxia-case-as-virus-spreads-to.jpeg”/>
media_cameraMuslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba (Tawaf al-Wadaa), Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Saudi Arabia suspended visas for visits to Islam’s holiest sites for the “umrah” pilgrimage in an unprecedented move. Picture: Abdulghani BASHEER / AFP.

In Saudi Arabia, the monarchy cut off access for foreigners to the holy city of Mecca and the Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina to stop the spread of the virus. The holy sites could still be shuttered in July when millions of Muslims plan to undertake the hajj.

“We ask God almighty to spare all humanity from all harm,” the country said.

Iran has also confirmed cases have spiked by over 100 to 254. Twenty-six people have died making it the highest death toll outside China.

Originally published as China fumes over ‘imported’ virus



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