- Total number of confirmed cases: 9,928
- Total number of deaths: 213
- Total number of recovered patients:181
- Cases outside of mainland China: 148
- 58.4% of all confirmed global cases and 95.7% of global deaths are in Hubei province
Coronavirus is an emerging ‘global health emergency’
On Thursday, 30 January the World Health Organisation (WHO) reclassified the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), following a meeting of its Emergency Committee in Geneva. This is the fifth time that the organisation has declared a PHEIC, with other notable examples including the Ebola epidemic in 2014, and the 2016 Zika outbreak in South America. In a press conference, the WHO’s director, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, explained that the designation has been made due to fears that the virus could spread internationally on a scale far greater than the current distribution. As of 1200 on 31 January, there are 148 confirmed cases of the disease outside of its country of origin China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong). Whilst the vast majority of these are developed nations with sophisticated public health infrastructure, the WHO has warned that the greatest risk may yet be faced by developing countries with lower GDP, should it spread to Africa, South America and Central Asia. In the event of a wider pandemic, it is likely that these nations may struggle to contain the virus and cope with the added strain on medical staff and resources.
Recent international developments
- The US Department of State updated its travel advice on 31 January and issued a Level 4 Travel Warning for the PRC recommending that American citizens do not travel to mainland China.
- Two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK for the first time. The patients are being quarantined and treated in the city of Newcastle.
- The Russian Federation has also confirmed its first two cases of novel coronavirus, in the far eastern Zabaikalsky region which borders China, and Tyumen oblast which borders the Republic of Kazakhstan.
- The State of Israel has announced plans to quarantine all Chinese nationals for 14 days upon arrival into the country.
- A total of 62 countries have now introduced some form of immigration control on Chinese citizens through tightening visa requirements, cancelling all transport connections or imposing quarantine measures.
- In addition, 47 countries now require all Chinese citizens to undergo health screening and sign declarations prior to entering their territory.
- A number of national governments, including those of the UK, the US, Germany and Malaysia have continued to charter flights to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan.
|Country/SAR/Region||Total confirmed cases||Total confirmed deaths||Recovered patients (if known)|
|Taiwan (Republic of China)||9||0||-|
|United Arab Emirates||4||0||-|
Passenger in departure flight plane at the airport wearing a surgical mask. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection or Wuhan coronavirus. Shutterstock.
Air travel updates
- France’s national carrier Air France has indefinitely suspended all flights into mainland China.
- The US-based airline United Airlines has provisionally reduced its flights between US hub cities andBeijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai between 9 February and 28 March. Daily services to San Francisco will remain in operation.
- American Airlines has also suspended flights from both Beijing and Shanghai to Los Angeles between 9 February and 27 March due to reduced demand. Services from Dallas to Shanghai and Beijing will continue.
- The UK’s national carrier British Airways has canceled all flights to Beijing and Shanghai with immediate effect, the measure is set to be reviewed in early March.
- The German national carrier Lufthansa has also provisionally suspended all flights to mainland China until 9 February.
What’s the situation in China?
The Chinese spring festival holiday is set to end on 1 February following a two-day extension to the usual schedule, after which millions of travellers typically utilise the nation’s airlines, buses, rail network and roads to return to their places of work. However, the post-holiday period in 2020 is likely to look very different as thousands of services and routes remain closed and much of the population has been told to remain at home by local authorities, the government and their employers. Around 28 cities and metropolitan areas in Hubei province and its surrounding regions remain on effective ‘lockdown’, whilst shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and other public institutions as far away as Shanghai and Beijing have continued to limit their services and impose temperature checks on citizens. Local authorities have also enforced the use of face masks in much of the country, whilst hospitals and clinics have been primed for an influx of coronavirus cases and have implemented triage centres and quarantine zones. According to the US Mission to China, reports from Shanghai, Shenyang, Chengdu and Guangzhou suggest that most hospitals are still receiving patients for non-viral injuries and illnesses, although some have suffered from resource shortages, especially in Wuhan.
Where can I go for official advice?