Coronavirus Update

Feb 8, 2020

As of 7 February 2020, approximately 31,520 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been reported worldwide with 638 fatalities. Chinese authorities have ordered local officials in Wuhan to establish mass quarantine sites for those infected with the virus. Citizens in Wuhan also must report daily to authorities whether they register a fever. Meanwhile, in Shenzhen, authorities have established roadblocks in some areas, and individuals at these roadblocks have faced temperature checks with personal identification and point of origin recorded. Additionally, Air Asia is now requiring mandatory temperature checks for all passengers prior to boarding.

The coronavirus is having an effect on educational and cultural events in China. The Hong Kong Secretary for Education has stated that all secondary public school exams scheduled prior to 27 March will be postponed until May amid coronavirus concerns. A number of universities worldwide are canceling study abroad programs to China. Chinese students are also unable to study outside of China, particularly in the U.S,, due to coronavirus-related restrictions . Additionally, Art Basel — a regional art fair that often attracts wealthy Chinese buyers — has canceled its Hong Kong fair schedule in March 2020.

Ships continue to face quarantine and it remains uncertain how long these measures will last. Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship — which has been docked at the Japanese port of Yokohama since 4 February — continue to be quarantined. Thus far, 273 passengers out of 1,800 passengers have been tested, and 61 cases of coronavirus have been found. Guam has denied a U.S. Department of State’s request to allow Holland America’s MS Westerdam — carrying 1455 passengers and 802 crew members — to dock over coronavirus concerns. Authorities in Japan and the Philippines previously refused to allow the ship to dock. Holland America denies the possibility of anyone infected with coronavirus on board.

In a related development, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it would convene a meeting with a team of international experts on 11-12 February to coordinate research and funding priorities as the international community seeks additional information and new measures to control to the virus outbreak.

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