Coronavirus Live Updates: Spanish Hotel Locked Down Amid Outbreak Fears

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Spanish Hotel Locked Down Amid Outbreak Fears

A hotel on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife was placed under a police cordon on Tuesday after an Italian guest tested positive for the new coronavirus, the authorities said.

According to local news reports, around 1,000 guests are booked at the hotel, the H10 Costa Adeje Palace, at a resort that is popular with British tourists. It was initially unclear the extent to which the hotel had been locked down and whether an official quarantine was in place.

Officials at the Canary Emergency Services Department are working to determine the severity of the outbreak in the building. In recent cases, including the quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the authorities demanded quarantine periods of at least 14 days.

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, a Spanish territory off the coast of West Africa.

The Italian patient is being kept in isolation at a hospital on the island, pending the results of a second test to be conducted in Madrid by Spain’s National Center of Microbiology.

The hotel guests have been told to remain in their rooms, according to Antena 3, a Spanish television channel, while health inspectors are checking people inside who could have come into contact with the Italian.

Guests were given a note by the hotel management asking them to stay in their rooms and telling them that for health reasons, the hotel had been temporarily closed.

Police enlarged the security cordon around the hotel to block access to nearby streets and a parking lot on Tuesday morning.

According to the local news media, the man who tested positive is a doctor who was visiting from Lombardy, a region of Italy that has been hit particularly hard by the virus. He reportedly took himself to a hospital with a fever about a week after arriving in Tenerife.

Spain previously confirmed two cases of the virus, both foreigners who were hospitalized on Spanish islands: a German citizen on La Gomera and a Briton on Majorca.

Calling the coronavirus “a plague,” an Iraqi lawmaker demanded on Tuesday that the government seal its borders with Iran “until the disease is completely controlled,” the same day that Iraq’s health ministry announced four more cases of the virus.

The demand by Qutayba Al Jubori, chairman of the Iraqi Parliament’s Health and Environment Committee, came as governments across the region sought to limit the entry of Iranian travelers following an outbreak in that country that has killed at least 15 people.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

The Iraqi government said it would suspend all flights from Iran beginning Monday afternoon, but by Tuesday morning flights were still scheduled to and from Najaf, a central Iraqi city that is home to Shiite shrines popular with Iranian pilgrims.

Iraq reported its first case of the virus on Monday, a 22-year old religion student in Najaf, who has been quarantined at a location outside the city. On Tuesday, the health ministry confirmed that a family of four from Kirkuk who just returned from Iran had contracted the coronavirus and were being quarantined.

The government told citizens to avoid crowded places including shrines, universities and schools, shopping malls and stores, sports activities and entertainment parks. They also recommended avoiding kissing or shaking hands with others and urged people to use disposable napkins.

The firebrand cleric Moktada al-Sadr said he would suspend massive protests against his political opponents.

“I had called for million man protests and sit-ins against sectarian power-sharing and today I forbid you from them for your health and life, for they are more important to me than anything else,” he said in a statement.

Global stocks stabilized on Tuesday, a day after fears of the spread of the new coronavirus outside China spooked investors into a worldwide sell-off.

Shares fell in most markets in Asia, led by Japan, which had closed for a holiday on Monday and missed that day’s drop. The Nikkei 225 index dropped more than 3.3 percent. Most other Asian markets fell at a much slower pace.

But shares in Europe opened higher, suggesting investors’ nerves had steadied. Futures trading indicated that American markets would rise when they opened on Tuesday.

The signs of stabilization followed a difficult Monday, when investors began to more fully comprehend the extent of the outbreak. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 3.4 percent on Monday, its worst single-day performance since February 2018. European markets recorded their worst session since 2016.

In China, the Shanghai stock market fell 0.6 percent, while the market in the city of Shenzhen rose by about half a percent. The Hong Kong market was little changed.

In South Korea, shaken by the world’s second-largest outbreak of the virus outside China, share prices rebounded on Tuesday morning after enduring one of the sharpest drops of any large market around the world the day before. They ended up 1.2 percent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent early, while German’s DAX rose 0.1 percent.

China appears to be getting the new coronavirus under control, but infections are spreading rapidly in South Korea, Iran and Italy. And the world is not prepared for a major outbreak, World Health Organization officials said on Monday.

A W.H.O. mission to China has said that the daily tally of new cases there peaked and then plateaued between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, and has steadily declined since.

Chinese officials reported 508 new cases and 71 deaths as of Monday, a slower pace than in previous days.

By Tuesday, South Korea had reported a total of 893 cases, the second most in the world. Of the 60 new cases reported by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 49 came from Daegu, the center of the outbreak in that country.

In Iran, a spike in coronavirus infections has prompted fears of a contagion throughout the Middle East. In Italy, one of Europe’s largest economies, officials are struggling to prevent the epidemic from paralyzing the commercial center of Milan. And in New York, London, and Tokyo, financial markets plummeted on fears that the virus will cripple the global economy.

The emergence of Italy, Iran, and South Korea as new hubs of the outbreak underscored the lack of a coordinated global strategy to combat the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing at least 2,600 deaths.

American citizens were advised on Monday to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus there. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised the travel warning to Level Three, its highest warning.

“There is a widespread, ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person,” the C.D.C. said in an advisory. “Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions may be at risk of severe disease.”

The C.D.C. also warned that “there is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.”

The warning came as South Korea reported Tuesday that the number of cases in the country had risen by 60 to 893 overall. The majority of the cases have been centered in the area in and around Daegu, South Korea’s fourth-largest city, 180 miles southeast of Seoul. And roughly half the patients in the country are members of the Shincheonji religious group, a church that has a large following in the city.

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday put the country on the highest possible alert in its fight against the coronavirus.

The Trump administration, after weeks of pleading from lawmakers, asked Congress on Monday to allocate at least $2.5 billion in emergency funds to bolster its coronavirus response, according to three White House officials and a request letter obtained by The New York Times.

The request from the White House, $1.25 billion in new funds and $1.25 billion in money diverted from other federal programs, is a significant escalation in the administration’s response to the outbreak of the virus and a sign of how long the fight to stop it may be.

The letter, which was signed by Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the funds would be spent on emergency medical supplies, lab testing, the development of vaccines and other forms of monitoring, among other features.

Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, called the request “woefully insufficient to protect Americans from the deadly coronavirus outbreak.”

“It is profoundly disturbing that their answer now is to raid money Congress has designated for other critical public health priorities,” she said in a statement. “Worse still, their overall request still falls short of what is needed for an effective, comprehensive governmentwide response.”

At least one and as many as 19 people have died from causes that could be linked to the coronavirus at a nursing home located steps from the likely source of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, the Chinese news outlet Caixin reported.

The nursing home, known as the Wuhan Social Welfare Institute, is near the seafood market that was identified the center of the outbreak. A spokesman told The New York Times it could not comment without approval from the civil affairs bureau.

In an indication that the authorities have acknowledged the risks posed to nursing homes, the civil affairs bureau has said every facility in the city will now be put under strict management, and that nucleic acid tests would be conducted for employees by Feb. 28.

The aged are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, with many of the reported deaths occurring among people over 60 years old who had underlying health conditions. Five people at the nursing home are said to have died in December and January, and another 14 in February, according to Caixin. Lung infections and heart attacks were listed among the causes of the deaths.

A nurse cited by Caixin said the infirmary attached to the home lacked testing capabilities for the virus. The municipal Civil Affairs Bureau in Wuhan said in a notice dated Thursday that 11 residents and an employee at the home have been infected and that one had died.

Many more deaths are going unreported, according to Caixin.

In a decision that could complicate California’s efforts to deal with the coronavirus crisis, a federal judge on Monday kept a temporary restraining order in place that would prevent infected patients on a military base from being moved to a state-owned facility in the city of Costa Mesa.

The judge said she would reconsider the issue after state and federal authorities provide more details about how they plan to protect the health of the community, as well as the people with coronavirus. “The state has shown great empathy for the patients,” Judge Josephine L. Staton said in a ruling that drew applause, adding that she wanted to see “the same empathy for the residents of Costa Mesa.”

Costa Mesa had asked the judge to prevent California from moving people infected with the new coronavirus into a former residential home for developmentally disabled people, where the patients would remain in isolation while recovering. The area, which is in Orange County, is too heavily populated to host people infected with such a dangerous virus, the local officials argued.

Federal officials had planned to move the patients to a facility in Alabama operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, court documents said, but officials in California thought that moving the group out of the state would be detrimental to their health and well-being.

The standoff over where to send the patients underscored the unwieldy, decentralized nature of the U.S. health system, even as federal authorities were warning of serious risks from the coronavirus outbreak

Beijing officials announced on Tuesday that they had ordered local governments to streamline the many new requirements they have imposed before companies can reopen after weeks of stalled production as a result of the outbreak

Worried that further infections might be blamed on them, local officials all over China have been demanding that companies pass extensive reviews and even on-site inspections before they can restart production. Rules include making sure that companies provide employees with face masks, keep track of employees’ temperatures and set up hand-washing stations.

Manufacturers of medical protection equipment can bypass the new rules almost entirely, so as to produce more face masks and other gear as quickly as possible.

But while Beijing is trying to restart the private sector, it does not want companies to mark up prices steeply for scarce products. Tang Jun, the deputy director of the State Administration of Market Regulation, said at a news briefing on Tuesday morning in Beijing that the Chinese government had investigated 4,500 companies for price gouging and was filing more than 11,000 legal cases.

The cases involved, “medical protective supplies and important commodities related to the people’s livelihood,” he said. More than 36,000 online vendors have already been identified as trying to overcharge specifically for face masks, he added, and electronic commerce companies have removed their overpriced listings.

Reporting and research was contributed by Raphael Minder, Matt Phillips, Russell Goldman, Keith Bradsher, Gerry Mullany, Aimee Ortiz, Alissa Rubin, Elaine Yu, Mark Landler, Steven Lee Myers, Sui-Lee Wee, Farah Stockman, Louis Keene, Noah Weiland, Emily Cochrane and Maggie Haberman.

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