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Weekly Coronavirus Report: What Happened Today

Around the World Today:

  • The WHO director-general declares the coronavirus outbreak a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" (PHEIC), reversing two previous decisions after emergency committee meetings in the last week. WHO also issued a warning that "all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread" of the virus.

  • Vietnam shuts down air traffic with China. The Ministry of Public Security temporarily ceased issuing visas to Chinese citizens within the epidemic areas. Additionally, crossing at gateways, airports, seaports are put under higher supervision, with strict monitoring and medical check-ups (applied to both humans and items; prohibited against wildlife animals and derivatives). Later that day, after confirmation of the virus for the first three Vietnamese patients, the Prime Minister ordered for further visa restrictions apart from diplomatic work, suspension of activities at border gates (with China) which are still active, evacuation for citizens when necessary, and an emergency alert being considered. The Liaison Office between the two Koreas in the border town of Kaesong was shut down for an unspecified time regarding infection concern. The decision was made after negotiations between the representatives of both countries early in the morning on 30 January, informed by the Unification Ministry of South Korea.

  • Singapore announced that every household was to receive four masks starting from 1 February.

  • Russia announces restrictions on railway travel with China, such that only a direct train between Moscow and Beijing remains.

  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stated in a press conference that Italy had closed all air traffic to and from China. It is believed that Conte has also called a cabinet meeting for Friday to discuss further actions. Six thousand people are briefly quarantined on board an Italian cruise ship as tests are carried out on two Chinese passengers suspected of having coronavirus, a spokesman for the Costa Crociere cruise company said. The same day, all passengers are released as it is found that the ill individual has the flu, not coronavirus.

  • The US State Department issued an updated travel advisory as "Level 4: Do Not Travel to China." Its website stated that "Those currently in China should consider departing" and warning that "Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice". Additionally, it authorized American diplomatic staff and their families to evacuate China. The State of Washington in the US declared a Level 1 Emergency and activated its Emergency Response Center for dealing with the now global coronavirus outbreak.

  • British foreign secretary Dominic Raab disclosed that the emergency flight containing about 120 Britons from Wuhan that was delayed by 24 hours was due to land at RAF Brize Norton on Friday morning, where the passengers will be taken to Wirral for a fortnight's quarantine.

  • Trinidad and Tobago's health minister, Terrance Deyalsingh, announced that Trinidad and Tobago had decided to implement restrictions on persons traveling from China. Persons who are living or who have visited China will be barred from entering Trinidad and Tobago unless they had already been out of China 14 days prior to attempting to travel to Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Air France and KLM cancel all flights to mainland China until 9 February. Two K-pop concerts in Singapore by Taeyeon and NCT Group respectively were postponed after the virus situation worsened.

Sources: The COVID Tracking Project and The World Health Organization


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