Hong Kong began on Saturday to impose quarantine measures drastic to stem the outbreak of the new coronavirus, whose balance sheet exceeds 720 dead, while the emotion remained high in China after the death of a physician whistleblower.
Now, any person arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China has an obligation to isolate two weeks at home, hotel or any other accommodation, the recalcitrant incurring a six-month prison sentence.This drastic measure should slow down the epidemic, which has already been a death on the territory of the chinese semi-autonomous. Hong Kong, where residents are making purchases panics of toilet paper and foodstuffs, has already closed almost all border posts with the rest of China.
The containment measures also remain strict in many chinese cities, where tens of millions of people must stay sealed in their homes.
In visit this week in Wuhan (centre), the epicenter of the epidemic, the vice-premier Sun Chunlan has ordered the local authorities to adopt measures of “time of war” to search for people with fever who are raking in the quarters.
The city, which appeared in December the epidemic of viral pneumonia, and the surrounding province of Hubei are cut off from the world for two weeks by a cordon sanitaire.
New cases on a cruise ship
The new coronavirus has infected more than 34 500 people and killed 722 patients in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao) – 86 additional deaths recorded in 24 hours, the strongest balance sheet daily to this day, were announced Saturday by health officials.
But the epidemic continues to spread outside of mainland China. More than 320 cases of contamination have been confirmed in some thirty countries and territories, of which two were fatal in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The balance sheet is now approaching that of the outbreak of Sars (severe acute respiratory Syndrome), which killed 774 people in the world in 2002-2003.
Beyond the quarantine in Hong Kong, many States musclent their restrictive measures against persons from China. And they advise against travel in this country.
Gabon became one of the last countries to prohibit the entry of any passenger from mainland China, to which most of the company’s international airline, have suspended their flights.
At the same time, other countries pursued the evacuation of their citizens from Wuhan: 213 Canadians arrived by plane at a military base in Ontario, where they will remain isolated two weeks.
And thousands of travellers and crew members remain logged on two cruise ships in Asia.
In Japan, the number of people infected on the cruise ship Diamond Princess continues to increase, climbing Saturday in 64 cases. Some 3 700 people on board remain cloistered in their cabins.
In Hong Kong, 3 600 people suffer a similar fate on the World Dream, including eight former passenger tested positive.
Japan has banned another vessel of the cruise, where a passenger is suspected of being contaminated, address on the archipelago.
In China, the epidemic has taken a turn with the death Friday of dr. Li Wenliang, ophthalmologist of Wuhan, which had given the warning at the end of December after the onset of the virus, before the contract itself.
Accused of spreading rumors and reprimanded by the police, he is now a figure of national hero and martyr in the face of local officials accused of hiding the beginnings of the epidemic.
The emotion and the anger remained sharp on chinese social networks, where word-sharp “We call for the freedom of expression” was a cliché before being censored. Shaken by the fury of popular, Beijing announced an investigation into “the circumstances” of the death of the doctor.
Videos shared on the platform of microblogs Weibo showed a small group of people blowing whistles on Friday night in front of the central Hospital of Wuhan, which is off the “whistleblower”. A vigil in his memory was also held in Hong Kong.
The municipality of Wuhan has granted to his family 800, 000 yuan (104 000 eur) in respect of “the insurance covering accidents at work”, according to the new China news agency.
In medical facilities overwhelmed, the health care providers remain very vulnerable to the virus: 40 employees of the same university hospital in Wuhan have been contaminated in January, according to a study published Friday in the medical journal Jama.
While the track of a coronavirus from initially bat seems to be confirmed, chinese scientists have announced that the pangolin, a small mammal, could be “intermediate host” who, to the last, transmitted the infectious agent to the human being.
The virus would have appeared in December on a market of Wuhan, which were sold to the wild animals destined to be eaten.
Still in chapter in a scientific, another study in the journal Jama also noted that the diarrhea could be a secondary way of transmission.
The world health Organization (WHO) reported that 82% of the cases were considered minor, 15% severe and 3% “critical”, less than 2% of cases proving fatal. A mortality rate for the time being much lower than the Sars.
The epidemic paralyzed the activity in China, where many companies and factories will remain closed until Monday at least. It should weigh down the global economy because of the weight of the giant asian manufacturing powerhouse exporting and engine of global consumption.