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Thread: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Wuhan Pneumonia

  1. #1
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    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Wuhan Pneumonia

    Remember Bird Flu and Swine Flu? SARS? Here's the latest Yellow Fever...

    Wuhan pneumonia: Thailand confirms first case of virus outside China
    Woman, 61, in hospital since last Wednesday and now recovering
    World Health Organisation says it is working with Chinese and Thai officials on case
    Elizabeth Cheung
    Published: 8:33pm, 13 Jan, 2020



    Passengers on the high-speed train from Beijing to Hong Kong. Thailand’s case is the first reported infection outside China. Photo: May Tse

    Thai authorities on Monday confirmed the first case outside China of a patient infected with the new virus behind the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak.
    The woman, 61, identified as a Chinese tourist from the city in central Hubei province, has been receiving treatment in a hospital in Nonthaburi near Bangkok since January 8, but is now recovering, according to Bloomberg and Thai media outlets.
    An expert said if further investigation found she had not been to Huanan Seafood Market, associated with the outbreak in Wuhan, it would suggest that the virus had spread to other parts of the city.
    The news came as Hong Kong health officials on Monday arrived in Wuhan to gain first-hand knowledge of the disease, now known to be a new strain of coronavirus, which has infected at least 41 people in Wuhan and killed one.
    Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said in a press statement that the Chinese woman’s infection was confirmed on Sunday.
    The woman now exhibited “no fever and is ready to return to her country”, the statement added.
    Calling for calm, Thai public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said: “We are confident we can control the situation.”
    Sixteen other people seated near the woman on the same flight were examined and their results were negative.
    The World Health Organisation on Monday confirmed on their Twitter account that they were aware of the woman’s diagnosis and working with Thai and Chinese officials on the case.


    China identifies new coronavirus behind Wuhan pneumonia outbreak

    In another press statement released later on Monday evening, WHO said there was a possibility that the virus could spread beyond China.
    “The possibility of cases being identified in other countries is not unexpected, and reinforces why WHO calls for ongoing active monitoring and preparedness in other countries,” the global watchdog said. It has issued guidelines on how to detect and treat patients.
    In Thailand’s case, the woman was found to be suffering from a fever on arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport on January 8, and was initially diagnosed with mild pneumonia in hospital, according to WHO.
    China’s health authorities over the weekend revealed the genetic sequence of the virus, found to be nearly 80 per cent similar to that of the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). The information was shared with WHO, and has been uploaded onto an online gene bank.
    The organisation also called for investigations to continue in China to identify the source of the outbreak, adding that director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus could call for a meeting of the Emergency Committee on short notice.
    Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory medicine expert from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said there should be an investigation on whether the woman had visited the Wuhan seafood market first identified as ground zero of the outbreak.
    “If she has not, it would be a big problem as it means game meat in other markets in Wuhan could also be infected with the virus, which then spread to people,” Hui said, pointing out that there was no clear evidence so far of transmission among humans.
    If she has not [been to the Wuhan seafood market in question], it would be a big problem as it means game meat in other markets could also be infected with the virus
    Professor David Hui, CUHK
    The development in Thailand came as Hong Kong on Monday reported one more suspected case involving a woman, 38, who fell ill after returning from Wuhan. She was later found to be infected with other virus strains not related to the one in question.
    Of a total of 68 suspected cases reported so far in the city, 56 have been cleared and discharged.
    Meanwhile, a group of Hong Kong health officials, including undersecretary for food and health Dr Chui Tak-yi, arrived in Wuhan on Monday for a two-day trip to be briefed by local authorities on control and treatment measures.
    Details of the trip were not disclosed to the public.
    Chinese University’s Hui said he hoped the team would be able to obtain more information of patients in Wuhan.
    “Now we don’t know the age range of patients, and the routes of transmission,” Hui said. “What are the factors causing severe conditions ... Could they be old age or [several] illnesses?
    “By knowing these, we can predict the outcome [of the disease in general],” he added.
    Professor Leo Poon Lit-man from the University of Hong Kong’s school of public health, who is familiar with the development of diagnostic tools for infectious diseases, said he expected specific tests for the virus to be ready “in a few days’ time”.

    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Thailand confirms case of Wuhan virus
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    spreading...

    I caught a weird illness just prior to the holidays and many people I know - all across the U.S. - caught similar bugs. I don't think it was related to this, but plague is one of the horsemen of the apocalypse...

    Wuhan pneumonia: Hong Kong widens net for suspected cases but medical workers fear already overstretched hospitals will suffer
    Under expanded criteria, people will be reported if they have symptoms and either visited a mainland hospital or had close contact with patient confirmed to have the virus
    Public hospitals are already full as the city entered the peak flu season last week
    Elizabeth Cheung
    Published: 10:40pm, 17 Jan, 2020


    With the flu season under way, hospital bed overall occupancy rate was 105 per cent on Thursday. Photo: Edmond So

    The strain on public hospitals, already overstretched by the peak flu season in Hong Kong, could worsen after health authorities widened the net for suspected cases linked to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak, medical workers fear.
    A representative of a health care workers’ union said increasing the turnover rate for hospital beds could be among the solutions to tackle the problem, while a medical expert urged local authorities to step up surveillance by introducing health declaration forms for passengers arriving on flights from Wuhan, which announced its second death of the outbreak on Thursday night.
    At least 41 people have been struck down in Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province, with pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus, in an outbreak linked to a seafood market in the city.
    Japan on Thursday confirmed its first case of the disease and Thailand its second one on Friday.


    Wuhan virus: second death reported in China as Japan finds first case

    Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection announced on Thursday that criteria to report a suspected case of the coronavirus would be expanded.
    Initially, suspected cases were identified as those who had either fever and respiratory infection or pneumonia, and had been to Wuhan within 14 days of falling ill.
    Under the latest arrangements, which still include the initial criteria, people would be reported if they had those symptoms and had either visited a mainland hospital or had close contact with a patient confirmed to have the virus.
    Dr Arisina Ma Chung-yee, president of the Public Doctors’ Association, said: “If those who visited a hospital on the mainland will also be considered, it is likely the amount of suspected cases will much increase.”
    She said that unlike in Hong Kong where patients with common ailments such as the cold or flu would go to a clinic, those seeking help on the mainland were more likely to visit a hospital’s outpatient department and be given intravenous fluids for even minor issues.
    Hong Kong’s public hospitals were already full as the city entered the peak flu season last week. Statistics on Thursday showed the overall occupancy rate for beds was 105 per cent.


    The disease’s development called for an expansion of the screening net, a medical expert says. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

    In the 24 hours to Friday noon, three more suspected cases of the Wuhan pneumonia were reported to Hong Kong health authorities and isolated in public hospitals, bringing the total to 81 since December 31. Among them, 75 have already been discharged.
    Lau Hoi-man, of the Hong Kong Allied Health Professionals and Nurses Association, echoed the concerns over seeing more patients under the expanded criteria.
    He said a possible way to handle the extra number of patients was to speed up bed turnover rates.
    “Perhaps patients who have not yet recovered will need to be discharged or sent to a rehabilitation hospital … so beds can be freed up for new patients,” Lau said.
    Ma said it would be difficult to use holiday camps for quarantine – as occurred during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003 – as suspected cases this time had fever and respiratory symptoms that required medical care.
    Dr Ho Pak-leung from the University of Hong Kong said that the authorities had no choice but to expand the screening net, given the disease’s development.
    “There is a need to strengthen screening and thus the net has to be bigger,” he said. “There could be more than one source of infection.”
    He said there were reasons to believe limited human-to-human transmission of the disease had occurred, given the present spreading pattern.
    He urged the Hong Kong government to introduce health declaration forms for passengers on flights from Wuhan to identify patients who were sick but not feverish.
    Chinese University’s Professor David Hui Shu-cheong said the move to include mainland hospitals among the reporting criteria could reflect a bigger concern.
    “They are worried there might be confirmed cases in other mainland cities in the future,” Hui said.
    A Department of Health spokesman said expansion of the reporting criteria was “a prudent approach”. The Hospital Authority said it would “dovetail with the widened reporting criteria”.
    Meanwhile, Thailand confirmed its second infected case of the new coronavirus on Friday, involving a 74-year-old Chinese woman who arrived in the country on Monday. A source said the woman did not visit any markets or have contact with wild animals in Wuhan.
    The second fatality in Wuhan was a 69-year-old man who had a heart muscle infection and tuberculosis. His death took place early on Wednesday but was only announced almost two days later.

    Additional reporting by Jitsiree Thongnoi
    This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Extra pressure on hospitals as net for outbreak widened
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    Been waiting for this shoe to drop...

    ...here we go...again.

    US will test for deadly virus at JFK, SFO, LAX Airports
    By Michelle Fay Cortez Bloomberg News,January 17, 2020, 5:04 p.m.


    Passengers went through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. AP FILE PHOTO/ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Passengers flying into three of the busiest US airports from Wuhan, China, or via connecting flights will be screened for a deadly new virus that has sickened dozens in China and already spread in Southeast Asia.

    US health and immigration officials will start screening passengers from Wuhan for symptoms such as coughs and fever Friday night at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport will be added to the screening on Saturday.

    There are expected to be about 5,000 passengers arriving in the next few weeks during the Chinese Lunar New Year, the peak travel time for the 60,000 people who come from Wuhan each year, said Martin Cetron, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of global migration and quarantine.

    The agency is taking aggressive action after previous outbreaks of novel viruses from abroad, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, which emerged in 2003, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, which appeared in 2012. The agency last screened airline passengers during the Ebola outbreak in western Africa from 2014 to 2016.

    The outbreak of the new coronavirus in China appears to be linked to an outdoor seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, with most of the 45 patients diagnosed so far reporting ties to the facility, which was recently closed for screening. While there have only been two reported deaths, the virus seems to be moving quickly, with four new cases reported in China within the past hour or so, CDC officials said. In addition, two cases have been reported in Thailand and one in Japan, all of whom had traveled to Wuhan.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    This is spreading fast

    China Virus Spreads to Health Workers; Six Patients Dead
    By Sybilla Gross and Dong Lyu
    January 20, 2020, 4:02 PM PST Updated on January 21, 2020, 5:08 AM PST
    Ailment seen as more infectious than previously thought
    China confirms 291 cases as New Year travel approaches

    China’s mysterious respiratory virus has caused six deaths and infected a number of medical workers, a sign the outbreak has entered a new phase with the illness spreading from person to person.

    Health-care workers contracting the new illness indicates that it is more easily transmitted than previously thought, bringing the outbreak to a higher risk level, reminiscent of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, pandemic that killed 800 people in Asia 17 years ago. China on Tuesday raised the number of confirmed cases to 291.

    As hundreds of millions of Chinese prepare to travel across the country and globally for the Lunar New Year holidays, concern is mounting that China will not be able to slow the spread of the pathogen, which originally emerged in the central city of Wuhan. It has since been found in people in Japan, Thailand and South Korea. Stocks in Asia slumped with China’s currency on the news, while haven assets rose.


    Medical staff members carry a patient into the Jinyintan hospital in Wuhan on Jan. 18.Photographer: AFP via Getty Images
    “The risk from this virus causing pandemonium has increased because it is spreading from different countries, and we are now seeing that it can be more easily transmitted from person to person,” said Sanjaya Senanayake, associate professor of medicine at the Australian National University. In comparison with SARS, he said, “the one good factor, I guess, at the moment seems to be the low mortality rate.”

    Both viruses belong to the coronavirus family. Fifteen medical professionals have been affected, with one critically ill, according to a report from China’s state news agency Xinhua. The transmission to medical workers is considered particularly worrisome because of the heavy precautions that were taken in Wuhan to try to minimize infections among health-care staff. Many doctors and nurses were also infected and died in the SARS outbreak.

    Wuhan, a city of 11 million, is now under heavy screening: people found to have symptoms like fever at travel checkpoints have been barred from boarding planes and trains. Tour groups have reportedly been banned from leaving the city. The city has reported 258 coronavirus cases as of Jan. 20, with 63 patients in serious or critical condition, mayor Zhou Xianwang told China’s state broadcaster CCTV.

    Mounting fears about the deadly virus rocked financial markets, with Asia stocks slumping over the likely hit to retail and tourism during what should have been a peak period for spending. The FTSE China A50 Index of large caps Tuesday logged its biggest drop in six months.

    Companies making diagnostic kits, air-cleaning equipment and plastic gloves saw shares surge across Asia.

    Despite the worries, the new virus is likely less deadly than SARS, said University of Sydney associate professor Adam Kamradt-Scott.

    “It’s important to stress that this virus at the moment has been causing mild illness in the vast majority of people that have been affected,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “There’s around 10% of cases that have ended up in critical condition and there’s been deaths, but the vast majority of the 200-plus people infected have resulted in mild illness.”

    Pneumonia Threat Widens
    Novel coronavirus cases, first detected in central China, have emerged in Japan, Thailand and South Korea
    Sources: National and municipal health authorities

    Many viruses cross the barrier between animals to humans, as the Wuhan virus appears to have done, according to David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was formerly with the U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Often it takes time to determine what form the new virus will take, he said.

    Some viruses, like rabies, sporadically infect humans through animal contact but can’t spread from person to person. Others, like Ebola, emerge in small outbreaks, recede, and then reappear. Some of the most dangerous, like HIV, evolve into forms that infect humans in a widespread, persistent fashion.

    The new virus “could be No. 2 or 3, that’s the concern,” Heymann said in an interview. “We need enough information to make a proper risk assessment.”

    Heymann, who also serves on a World Health Organization committee that evaluates infectious hazards, said that it appears so far that the virus is most dangerous to elderly people who have existing disease. That would suggest it’s less of that a threat than SARS, which killed people of all ages, he said.

    The WHO has set up three groups in Geneva to gather information and advise on the virus itself, the epidemiology of the outbreak and clinical findings from patients. A small team has also been sent to Wuhan to coordinate with local officials.

    The exact source and transmission routes of the virus -- known as 2019-nCoV -- are still unknown. Some of the first group of patients in Wuhan worked or shopped at a seafood market where live animals and wildlife parts were reportedly sold.

    These so-called wet markets, where shoppers mingle in narrow spaces with everything from live poultry to snakes, have been a key source in the emergence of new viruses transmitted from animals to humans.

    Coronaviruses are a large family. Some cause illness in people, and others circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats, according to the CDC. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect people and then spread between them.

    Fourth Death
    Health officials in Wuhan confirmed a fourth death on Tuesday. An 89-year-old man, who had a history of hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease, was hospitalized on Jan. 18 and died the following day. Other fatalities have included men in their 60s, at least some with pre-existing conditions.

    China’s National Health Commission said there were 291 cases of the coronavirus throughout the country as of Jan. 20, as three provinces reported a combined 77 new cases. Wuhan has more than 200 cases, with 136 patients more reported in the city over the weekend as health authorities increased testing of the virus. Of those, the youngest was age 25 and the oldest was 89. The initial symptoms were mostly fever, cough or chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

    Toll of Asia’s Viruses
    The most deadly viruses emerged from human contact with live animals
    Sources: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    The SARS outbreak began in late 2002 in Guangdong province with sporadic infections, gathering speed as it passed through hospitals before spreading around the world, hurting companies and economies.

    China was criticized at the time for initially providing limited information and denying the scope of the problem. With this new virus, health experts have generally praised the speed at which China identified and shared the genetic sequencing of the new coronavirus, allowing other countries to spot cases quickly.

    The Communist Party’s top law enforcement body warned officials Tuesday not to cover up disclosures of coronavirus cases, citing the lessons of the 2003 SARS outbreak. In its commentary, the commission noted instructions issued by President Xi Jinping on Monday that the virus must be “resolutely curbed.”


    A health worker monitors a thermal scanner at Narita airport in Japan on Jan. 17.Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

    China’s health commission will include the coronavirus in the Class B infectious diseases category, which includes SARS, while taking preventive steps typically used for the most-serious ailments, such as cholera and plague, according to a notice posted on its website late Monday.

    Other countries are on alert. Singapore’s Changi Airport is stepping up surveillance to all passengers from China, rather than just those arriving from Wuhan. Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said it will be distributing health-declaration forms and providing face masks and antiseptic wipes at boarding gates for travelers from Wuhan.

    The WHO convened a meeting of its emergency committee for Jan. 22 in Geneva, according to an emailed statement. Members will discuss whether the outbreak constitutes “a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it.” The committee will determine whether to recommend restrictions on travel and trade as part of the international response.

    — With assistance by Kelly Li, Lin Zhu, and John Lauerman

    (Updates with more case reports in sixth paragraph, health expert’s comments from 12th.)
    There are a few graphs and a video that I could not copy off the source news - follow the link for those.
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  5. #5
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    The kicker here? CNY

    Combine CNY migration with a highly transmutable new disease and it's a 'perfect storm' for the transmission of the coronavirus.

    It's Year of the Rat. Remember what rats did during the Black Plague?

    China confirms 139 new cases of SARS-like mystery virus as CNY approaches
    The world's largest human migration will see millions travel out of the epicenter city of Wuhan
    by Alex Linder January 21, 2020 in News



    Just ahead of the height of the Spring Festival travel season in China, reports of pneumonia caused by a mysterious new strain of coronavirus are beginning to spread across the country.

    Thus far, all those infected with the virus spent time in Wuhan, a mega-city in central China that also serves as one of the country’s main transportation hubs. The outbreak began in December but concerns have now been heightened with Chinese authorities reporting a significant increase in the number of people affected.

    Health officials in Wuhan announced on Monday they identified 136 new cases of the virus over the weekend, bringing the total number of those infected in the city all the way up to 199.

    Of the new patients, 33 are reported to be in serious condition while three have been classified as critical with one of those patients dying. This brings the number of the dead from the virus up to three. The first, a 69-year-old man, died last Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, authorities in Beijing have reported two cases of pneumonia patients with the virus while those in Shenzhen have reported one. All three of these individuals are said to have arrived from Wuhan.

    Likewise, two cases have been reported in Thailand, one in Japan, and one in South Korea with all the infected travelers having originated from Wuhan.



    Authorities have pinpointed Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market as the possible epicenter of the outbreak. The market has been shut down for disinfection.

    Thus far, the virus has not been proved to transmit via human-to-human contact, though Chinese authorities have said that they can not rule out the possibility. For its part, the WHO has said that human-to-human transmission is likely considering other coronavirus outbreaks like SARS, which wreaked havoc in southern China in 2002/2003, killing at least 774.

    The response to that catastrophic outbreak was hindered by an attempted government cover-up. Already, experts have accused China of grossly underestimating the number of people infected by this new virus, projecting that there may well be more than 1,700 infections in Wuhan.

    China has insisted that the new virus is controllable. Infrared thermometers have been installed at airports, train stations, and bus stations across the city. Of course, this comes weeks after the virus first appeared.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #6
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    its here...

    Stay healthy everyone.

    CDC confirms first US case of coronavirus that has killed 6 in China
    PUBLISHED TUE, JAN 21 2020 1:25 PM EST UPDATED MOMENTS AGO
    Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
    @BERKELEYJR

    KEY POINTS
    Public health officials have confirmed the first U.S. case of a mysterious coronavirus that has already killed at least six people and sickened hundreds of others in China, the CDC says.
    A male traveler from China has been diagnosed in Snohomish County, Washington State with the Wuhan coronavirus, according to the CDC.

    Public health officials have confirmed the first U.S. case of a mysterious coronavirus that has already killed at least six people and sickened hundreds of others in China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

    A male traveler from China has been diagnosed in Snohomish County, Washington State with the Wuhan coronavirus, according to the CDC. The CDC was expected to make the announcement at a Tuesday afternoon media briefing.

    Public health officials have confirmed more than 300 cases of the illness, which has evoked memories of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in China. Health officials have also confirmed cases in Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

    This weekend, the CDC and Homeland Security began screening people traveling to the United States from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak is believed to have started.

    The World Health Organization is expected to convene a panel of experts in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday to consider whether the illness should be a global health emergency.

    The last time WHO declared a global health emergency was in 2019 for the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo that killed more than 2,000 people. The agency also declared global emergencies for the 2016 Zika virus, the 2009 H1N1 swine flu and the 2014 polio and Ebola outbreaks.

    Chinese authorities say many of the patients with the new illness had come into contact with seafood markets, suggesting the virus is spreading from animals to people. However, health officials say some “limited human-to-human transmission” occurred between close contacts.

    In addition to the health concerns, some experts worried about the economic consequences if coronavirus evolves into a pandemic. They pointed to the fallout from the deadly SARS crisis in 2003. SARS, which emerged in China in 2002 and was identified in 2003, killed nearly 800 people worldwide. It hit Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei and Beijing the hardest and triggered a severe downturn in the region.

    People can protect themselves from the virus by washing their hands with soap and water, avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth and keeping away from sick people, according to the CDC. Many people in China have purchased face masks to protect themselves from the outbreak.

    Fears that the coronavirus could disrupt travel and commerce, and slow economic growth sent a chill through global risk markets, hitting Asian stocks hard, depressing copper and oil prices, and sending investors into safe havens, like U.S. Treasurys and German bunds.

    —CNBC’s Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.

    This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #7
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    Bat Soup? WTF?!

    I've only seen this lone source for this news so far so I find this highly suspicious...

    Coronavirus blamed on bat soup as pics emerge of people eating the Chinese delicacy
    Bats could "host" the coronavirus, according to experts, and pictures have emerged of locals in Wuhan tucking into bat soup
    By Emma Parker Tiffany Lo
    19:33, 22 JAN 2020 UPDATED12:30, 23 JAN 2020

    The spread of the deadly coronavirus could be down to soup made from bats as photos emerge of people in a Chinese city eating the delicacy.

    Experts suggested bats could host the virus, which has killed 17 people, in a paper published in the China Science Bulletin – admitting the pneumonia-like virus was "underestimated" by the research community.

    China has confirmed over 500 cases of the disease and has since quarantined Wuhan as the coronavirus continues to spread.

    It is not yet clear how the virus has spread between humans and bats but scientists believe “there may be an unknown intermediate”.

    But Daily Star Online can reveal the "unknown" link may be down bat soup which is an unusual but widely consumed Chinese delicacy.



    Footage of people eating the potentially lethal soup emerged on social media this week.

    In one clip, a girl can be seen putting a black bat into her mouth with a pair of chopsticks as she sits down for dinner with friends.

    On a separate occasion a Wuhan resident took a picture of a dead bat grinning at the camera before eating it.


    (Image: EXCLUSIVE DAILY STAR ONLINE)

    The animal’s cooked insides can be seen in the disturbing image, with parts of the broth floating inside its stomach, along with its teeth.

    In a statement released to the South China Morning Post, scientists said: "The Wuhan coronavirus’ natural host could be bats … but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate."

    News of the bat soup comes as the Foreign Office warned Brits not to travel to Wuhan amid fears of a global outbreak.

    Figures suggest 552 cases have been confirmed in the country across 22 different provinces.

    Actual figures are likely to be much higher, with leading Virologists suggesting billions could be at risk.



    The SARS-like virus has seen cases confirmed in China, Japan, Korea and the US.

    Chinese authorities have told people to stop travel in and out of Wuhan and cars are believed to have been blocked by authorities.

    Professor Neil Ferguson, director of the Medical Research Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, said the estimated number of people infected with coronavirus in Wuhan is around 4,000, with a range between 1,000 and 9,700.
    THREADS
    Coronavirus
    Chinese Food
    Gene Ching
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  8. #8
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    Aw crap...shoulda seen this coming.

    China delays blockbusters as cinemas empty out under state orders to control Wuhan virus outbreak
    The release of seven highly anticipated blockbuster movies has been put off indefinitely as China takes steps to contain the deadly pneumonia epidemic
    Media stocks face the brunt of sell-off on the last day of trading before the long holiday, with a key gauge slumping 3.8 per cent
    Zhang Shidong in Shanghai
    Published: 7:10pm, 23 Jan, 2020


    A bicyclist wears a face mask in front of a display for the upcoming Lunar New Year, in Beijing. Chinese health authorities urged people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings, as the new viral illness could spread further. Photo: AP Photo

    China’s studios have indefinitely delayed the release of seven highly anticipated blockbusters just before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday, yielding to government orders to avoid public gatherings to contain the spread of a deadly viral outbreak.
    The postponement of the films, including Boonie Bears: The Wild Life, Legend of Deification and Detective Chinatown III, comes at an inopportune moment as the country’s box office is struggling to recover from a second consecutive year of slowing growth.
    Tickets will be refunded because of the quickly spreading epidemic that broke out in the central city of Wuhan in December, producers said in separate statements on Thursday.
    The government orders came just a day before the start of China’s long Lunar New Year holiday, casting a shadow over the movie industry that was pinning its hopes on a recovery in box-office revenues during the nation’s most important festival.


    The release of Detective Chinatown III has been delayed to contain the rapidly spreading virus outbreak. Photo: Weibo

    Cinemas, along with restaurants, airlines, etc are taking a beating amid concern that quarantine measures would empty out public places precisely at the most important holiday for the nation of 1.4 billion people.
    The industry is already grappling with shrinking investment amid increased government scrutiny over the past year.
    A gauge of China’s media stocks slumped 3.8 per cent on Thursday, underperforming a 2.8 per cent decline in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index on the last trading day before the holiday, on concerns the sector will endure a prolonged slowdown.
    Wanda Film, owned by billionaire Wang Jianlin, plunged 7 per cent to 17.29 yuan in Shenzhen. Beijing Enlight Media slid 5 per cent to 10.57 yuan after saying it will pick up another time slot for the release of its animated movie Legend of Deification. China Film, which distributes movies and runs a theatre chain, sank 4.8 per cent to 13.81 yuan in Shanghai.
    China’s box-office growth slowed to 5.4 per cent in 2019. It was the second consecutive year that industry growth slowed down, as investment shrank amid the increased regulatory scrutiny of content approval and crackdown on tax evasion. Some 1,900 companies producing movies and TV dramas shut down last year, according to the Securities Daily.
    China is taking all steps possible to contain the spread of the coronavirus, imposing a lockdown in Wuhan. All public transport in and out of Wuhan, including trains, buses and ferries, stopped at 10am on Thursday as the central government imposed a quarantine to try to contain the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 17 people and infected hundreds more.
    China reported 571 cases of pneumonia caused by the virus and 17 deaths, in 25 provinces as of Wednesday, according to the National Health Commission. The outbreak coincided with the nation’s busiest transport season, when an estimated 3 billion tourist trips will be made over the holiday.
    Airlines, tourism and consumer companies were among the worst-hit stocks on concern the spread of the epidemic will discourage travelling and deter spending. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which infected more than 8,000 people and killed almost 800 in 2003, slashed China’s monthly retail sales growth by half and chipped two percentage points off quarterly economic expansion that year.

    Additional reporting by Yujing Liu
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    The U.S. repercussions of cornovirus Chinese cinema quarentine

    U.S. Release of Chinese New Year Films Canceled as Coronavirus Crisis Escalates
    5:43 AM PST 1/23/2020 by Patrick Brzeski


    'Detective Chinatown 3'

    Warner Bros. was set to release Wanda's 'Detective Chinatown 3' on Saturday, giving the action comedy the biggest North American outing to date for a Mandarin-language movie.
    China's major movie studios are scrapping the North American release plans for their big Lunar New Year blockbusters after being forced to shelve the projects at home because of the growing coronavirus outbreak.

    On Thursday afternoon, the leading studios in Beijing announced simultaneously that all seven of the major films that were set for release on Saturday, the first day of the weeklong Lunar holiday, would be put on hold.

    Chinese New Year is the biggest box office period in the world by far, and the coming week was expected to generate as much as $1 billion in ticket sales revenue (think the Christmas/New Year's corridor on steroids). But with confirmed cases of the coronavirus climbing to nearly 600, medical authorities in China warned the public against congregating in crowded places, and distributors interpreted that as applying to cinemas. There were fears that even if the releases went ahead, theaters would be deserted.

    Warner Bros had picked up the North American rights to what was looking to be the holiday season frontrunner, Wanda's action comedy sequel Detective Chinatown 3. Warners had set the film for a continent-wide, North American release on Friday. The studio described the release plans — spanning 150 cinemas with limited IMAX engagements — as the biggest outing for a Chinese-language film in recent memory.

    Sources at Wanda tell The Hollywood Reporter that the Warners release will be put on hold in tandem with the China release delay.

    Dante Lam's patriotic action adventure film The Rescue, produced for upwards of $90 million, was similarly set for a significant North American opening courtesy of China's own CMC Pictures. A source close to CMC says those plans also have been scrapped.

    Hong Kong-based Huanxi Media would have been the studio to watch this Chinese New Year season. The fast-growing studio had two of the season's most-buzzed-about projects, Xu Zheng's comedy smash Lost in Russia (a sequel to his beloved 2015 blockbuster Lost in Hong) and Leap, Peter Chan's decade-spanning sports drama, starring Gong Li and Huang Bo, about China's national volleyball team. Both projects had been generating strong word of mouth throughout the industry in Beijing, and a source at Huanxi said the studio was in advanced discussions to sell the U.S. rights to both projects. "These discussions will definitely be impacted now," the source said.

    The Chinese studios had several good reasons for making sure their most important movies of the calendar didn't open offshore before at home in China.

    The Chinese theatrical market is profoundly trend driven, with online buzz driving or dampening the box office momentum of a film within hours of its release. Chinese films also still make the vast majority of their money in their domestic market. Last year's Chinese New Year champion The Wandering Earth (2018), for example, earned $5.8 million in North America compared to $690 million in China. Studios, naturally, would be very reluctant to risk having the buzz surrounding a comparatively low-value U.S. outing travel back to China to affect the movie's real earning potential. A pirate copy of a tentpole hitting the internet before it opens in China could be even more devastating.

    Chinese distributors also are required to get special permission to open a film overseas before its local release, so it's not clear whether going ahead with the U.S. openings would have even been legal.

    As news surrounding the coronavirus has worsened, shares in many of China's leading film companies have plummeted on the local stock markets this week. Distributors and theaters are working with ticketing platforms to offer refunds on the more than $50 million in tickets that had pre-sold just for Saturday. The Beijing film industry appears to be in a collective holding pattern, waiting anxiously with the entire country to see how the next phase in the coronavirus crisis will unfold.
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  10. #10
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    Snakes and Coronovirus

    I liked the Bat theory better (although there is a connection)

    Snakes could be the source of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    By Haitao Guo, Guangxiang "George" Luo and Shou-Jiang Gao, The Conversation
    Updated 6:32 AM ET, Thu January 23, 2020

    (CNN)Snakes -- the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra -- may be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this winter.
    The many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus), also known as the Taiwanese krait or the Chinese krait, is a highly venomous species of elapid snake found in much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia.
    The illness was first reported in late December 2019 in Wuhan, a major city in central China, and has been rapidly spreading. Since then, sick travelers from Wuhan have infected people in China and other countries, including the United States.
    Using samples of the virus isolated from patients, scientists in China have determined the genetic code of the virus and used microscopes to photograph it. The pathogen responsible for this pandemic is a new coronavirus. It's in the same family of viruses as the well-known severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which have killed hundreds of people in the past 17 years. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
    We are virologists and journal editors and are closely following this outbreak because there are many questions that need to be answered to curb the spread of this public health threat.
    What is a coronavirus?
    The name of coronavirus comes from its shape, which resembles a crown or solar corona when imaged using an electron microscope.
    The electron microscopic image, reveals the crown shape structural details for which the coronavirus was named. This image is of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    Coronavirus is transmitted through the air and primarily infects the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tract of mammals and birds. Though most of the members of the coronavirus family only cause mild flu-like symptoms during infection, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV can infect both upper and lower airways and cause severe respiratory illness and other complications in humans.
    This new 2019-nCoV causes similar symptoms to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. People infected with these coronaviruses suffer a severe inflammatory response.
    Unfortunately, there is no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment available for coronavirus infection. A better understanding of the life cycle of 2019-nCoV, including the source of the virus, how it is transmitted and how it replicates are needed to both prevent and treat the disease.

    Zoonotic transmission
    Both SARS and MERS are classified as zoonotic viral diseases, meaning the first patients who were infected acquired these viruses directly from animals. This was possible because while in the animal host, the virus had acquired a series of genetic mutations that allowed it to infect and multiply inside humans.
    Now these viruses can be transmitted from person to person. Field studies have revealed that the original source of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV is the bat, and that the masked palm civets (a mammal native to Asia and Africa) and camels, respectively, served as intermediate hosts between bats and humans.
    In the case of this 2019 coronavirus outbreak, reports state that most of the first group of patients hospitalized were workers or customers at a local seafood wholesale market which also sold processed meats and live consumable animals including poultry, donkeys, sheep, pigs, camels, foxes, badgers, bamboo rats, hedgehogs and reptiles. However, since no one has ever reported finding a coronavirus infecting aquatic animals, it is plausible that the coronavirus may have originated from other animals sold in that market.
    The hypothesis that the 2019-nCoV jumped from an animal at the market is strongly supported by a new publication in the Journal of Medical Virology. The scientists conducted an analysis and compared the genetic sequences of 2019-nCoV and all other known coronaviruses.
    The study of the genetic code of 2019-nCoV reveals that the new virus is most closely related to two bat SARS-like coronavirus samples from China, initially suggesting that, like SARS and MERS, the bat might also be the origin of 2019-nCoV. The authors further found that the viral RNA coding sequence of 2019-nCoV spike protein, which forms the "crown" of the virus particle that recognizes the receptor on a host cell, indicates that the bat virus might have mutated before infecting people.
    How influenza jumped from animals to humans
    But when the researchers performed a more detailed bioinformatics analysis of the sequence of 2019-nCoV, it suggests that this coronavirus might come from snakes.
    The Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, where the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have started, is now closed.

    From bats to snakes
    The researchers used an analysis of the protein codes favored by the new coronavirus and compared it to the protein codes from coronaviruses found in different animal hosts, like birds, snakes, marmots, hedgehogs, manis, bats and humans. Surprisingly, they found that the protein codes in the 2019-nCoV are most similar to those used in snakes.
    Snakes often hunt for bats in wild. Reports indicate that snakes were sold in the local seafood market in Wuhan, raising the possibility that the 2019-nCoV might have jumped from the host species -- bats -- to snakes and then to humans at the beginning of this coronavirus outbreak. However, how the virus could adapt to both the cold-blooded and warm-blooded hosts remains a mystery.
    The authors of the report and other researchers must verify the origin of the virus through laboratory experiments. Searching for the 2019-nCoV sequence in snakes would be the first thing to do. However, since the outbreak, the seafood market has been disinfected and shut down, which makes it challenging to trace the new virus' source animal.
    3 reasons the US is not ready for a pandemic
    Sampling viral RNA from animals sold at the market and from wild snakes and bats is needed to confirm the origin of the virus. Nonetheless, the reported findings will also provide insights for developing prevention and treatment protocols.
    The 2019-nCoV outbreak is another reminder that people should limit the consumption of wild animals to prevent zoonotic infections.
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    blame it on wild animal meat

    Bryan Ke·News·January 23, 2020·2 min read
    Snakes, Wolf Puppies and Rats Sold at Market Where Coronavirus Originated



    A menu filled with a variety of exotic wild animals was reportedly sold at a market in Wuhan, Hubei province, China where the coronavirus originated.

    Some of the wild animal meat mentioned on the price list of a vendor at the Huanan Seafood Market includes live foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, rats, peacocks, porcupines and camels.

    There are a total of 112 items mentioned on the list, according to AFP via Straits Times.



    “Freshly slaughtered, frozen and delivered to your door,” the price list of the vendor said. “Wild Game Animal Husbandry for the Masses.”

    Although the exact source of the outbreak remains undetermined, Dr. Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese center for disease control and prevention, said in Beijing on Wednesday that authorities believe the virus most likely came from “wild animals at the seafood market.”
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post




    However, AFP was unable to directly confirm the authenticity of the circulating list as the news agency’s phone call to the vendors went unanswered and attempts to reach them via social media were rejected.

    The same vendor’s now-shuttered storefront was shown in the picture posted by Beijing News on Tuesday while authorities wearing white hazmat suits investigated. It also quoted merchants saying the trade in wildlife took place until the market was shut down for disinfection shortly after the outbreak.
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post




    Sellers in the market were the first few people to become infected with the virus when they fell ill between Dec. 12 and Dec. 29. Earlier this month, a total of 59 people had been infected, but recent reports show that 571 people have now also been infected in just a few weeks, while 17 deaths have been recorded, CNN reported.

    The infection, however, is not contained nor limited to China only. The disease has now spread to other Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan and Thailand as well as the United States.

    People in China and other Asian countries continue to practice the consumption of many exotic animals that some consider a delicacy or attribute to positive health benefits not yet proven by science.

    However, the practice brings growing health risks to humans, according to Dr. Christian Walzer, executive director of the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society’s Health Program. About 70% of all new infectious diseases come from wildlife and chances of the spreading of pathogens increases with habitat encroachment.

    “Wildlife markets offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spill over from wildlife hosts,” the doctor said. “It is essential to invest resources not only into discovering new viruses, but more importantly, in determining the epidemiological drivers of… (the) spillover, amplification, and spread of infectious diseases.”


    Feature Image via Weibo/Inkstone
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    House of mouse closes...

    ...how inauspicious for the Year of the Rat.

    Shanghai Disneyland Closing In Response To Coronavirus Outbreak
    By Nellie Andreeva
    Co-Editor-in-Chief, TV
    @DeadlineNellie
    January 23, 2020 11:33pm


    (
    Photo by Sipa Asia/Shutterstock

    Disney is temporarily closing its theme park in Shanghai as efforts continue to contain the coronavirus outbreak in China.

    “In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and Cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown including Walt Disney Grand Theatre and Wishing Star Park, starting January 25, 2020,” the company said in a statement posted on the Shanghai Disneyland website. “We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation.”

    Disney’s decision follows the announcement that all local film releases scheduled for the highly lucrative Chinese New Year period have been canceled as authorities try to stave off a potential spread of the coronavirus.

    The cities of Wuhan and neighboring Huanggang were in virtual lockdown, with transport in and out of the cities closed, and restrictions in place in other areas as well. The latest outbreak has killed 25 people and infected more than 800.

    The $5.5B Shanghai Disneyland, which opened in mid-2016, was Disney’s first theme park in mainland China. The estimated financial impact on the closure was not immediately clear.

    Disney said guests who purchased tickets or booked hotel rooms would be reimbursed for the cost.
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    Chollywood falls ill

    JANUARY 23, 2020 11:13AM PT
    How the Wuhan Coronavirus Infected the Chinese Film Industry
    By REBECCA DAVIS and PATRICK FRATER


    CREDIT: YONHAP/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

    Just days ago, no one would have predicted that China’s most lucrative film-going season was about to be derailed by the escalating epidemic of a novel coronavirus that is now rapidly spreading through the country and beyond.

    Variety takes a look at how the box office in the world’s second largest film market has been overturned by a public health crisis that has made gathering in enclosed cinema spaces a health risk.

    Pre-Sales and Promotion

    Earlier this week, it seemed to be business as usual for the Spring Festival holiday release window. Production teams collectively spent a reported $144 million (RMB1 billion) on publicity for the seven blockbusters scheduled to release this Friday and Saturday, the eve and New Year’s Day of the new lunar year of the rat. The holiday is a time for family gatherings, when millions who’ve saved up all year take one of their few vacations, and head back to their hometowns. It is the largest annual human migration in the world.

    It seemed that the biggest setback would be a marketing blow to Peter Chan’s volleyball drama “Leap,” which suddenly changed its Chinese title from “Chinese Women’s Volleyball” to “Win the Championship” the day before pre-sales began.

    The new name, unknown to viewers bombarded with posters and materials for the other, is the same as the short made by rival director Xu Zheng that was included in the widely viewed propaganda film “My People, My Country,” and has caused confusion. Chan’s title change decision appears to have been a way to avoid fallout from dissatisfaction within the sports community of how the women’s team is portrayed, rather than government censorship.

    Pre-sales for the seven films had already reached a reported $67.5 million (RMB468 million) by Thursday morning. “Detective Chinatown 3” had pulled ahead as the front-runner, setting a new pre-sale record by selling more than $14 million (RMB100 million) worth of tickets in just 23 hours.

    Monday: Concern Mounts

    By Jan. 20, concerns ramp up about the spread of the coronavirus due to mass travel ahead of Chinese New Year, as the death toll and infection tally mounts. Chinese authorities report three deaths and more than 200 cases in the country and confirm that the disease can in fact spread through human-to-human transmission. Since the first case outside of China was discovered on Jan. 13, the virus has spread to Thailand, Japan and South Korea. On Jan. 21, the first reported case is found in the U.S., in Seattle.

    Ticket sales in Wuhan were mounting swimmingly before Sunday (Jan. 19), accounting for around 2% of the national box office, on average. But from Sunday onwards, ticket sales rapidly declined, dropping from 2.2% of the national total to 0.5% in the space of three days. From Monday, film company shares begin to fall, including those for Wanda Film and China Film.

    On Wednesday (Jan. 22), China’s major ticketing platforms Maoyan and Tao Piaopiao put out official statements announcing unconditional refunds for any tickets bought in Wuhan.

    The same day, Chinese authorities announce a quarantine for the entire city of Wuhan and its 11 million residents, effective from the next day. Travel restrictions are planned to shut down public transit out of the city. Chaos ensues as residents fight to get out of the metropolis before lock down sets in Thursday morning at 10AM local time, with Chinese reports estimating that some 300,000 fled.

    Thursday: Box Office Meltdown

    By Thursday (Jan. 23) morning, the hashtag “Why don’t the spring festival films change their release dates?” is a top trending item on Weibo, China’s Twitter-equivalent. Production teams are faced with a lose-lose decision: risk angering the public by keeping their film in the line-up, or pull out and lose millions in P&A.

    Official film Weibo accounts start to slash promotional material and instead boost posts cheering for “frontline medical workers.” Then, in quick succession, all seven issue statements that they are formally withdrawing their titles. No future release dates have been announced.

    Animations “Boonie Bears: The Wild Life” and “Jiang Ziya” pulled out first. “Now that the epidemic is happening, we must stand impregnably united, and focus on the disease prevention and saving lives,” the “Jiang Ziya” promo site said. “We salute those working on the front lines of the epidemic and apologize to theater workers nationwide.”

    The other titles swiftly follow. “Movies are just a part of life; life and safety are more important, since ‘movies are short and life is long,'” said the team behind “Leap.” It said it was pulling out after “careful consideration of the risk of disease transmission in a confined space.”

    Lam’s “The Rescue” was on-brand and adopting the most rousing tone, writing: “At the moment, many medical and rescue personnel are sticking to their posts, stepping forward bravely at the key moment of danger and disaster! The movie ‘The Rescue’ is about exactly this kind of spirit. Let us as millions, all of one mind, with unshakeably unity, win the battle of preventing an epidemic!”

    “Lost in Russia” director Xu Zheng wrote a post expressing his gratitude to Hengdian Film, his producer Huanxi Media, and the marketing team, whose early work has been washed away. “All this is less important than eliminating the hidden dangers of the disease!”

    Ticketing platforms Maoyan and Tao Piaopiao now promise to refund all tickets without question, a process that may take up to a week. Cinema chains say they have been overwhelmed with calls from patrons asking for refunds.

    Cinemas in Wuhan and other nearby locked-down cities have been entirely shut down, and authorities have issued a mandatory face mask policy there for public spaces. Cinemas elsewhere remain operational for the moment, advertising that they have boosted disinfection measures and ventilation for theaters.

    Large-scale cultural activities like temple fairs have been cancelled, and cultural institutions such as museums have slashed activities to reduce visitor tallies. The Forbidden City in Beijing will be shuttered from Saturday.

    Over the course of the day, China has locked down some 20 million people in Wuhan and neighboring cities by indefinitely banning planes and trains. The death toll has risen to at least 17, with some 517 affected. The virus has now been detected in Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the U.S. and U.K. The WHO is currently mulling whether to declare the epidemic a global health emergency.

    On Thursday – the last chance for business before a recess of five full trading days for the spring festival holiday – shares of a number of major film companies plummeted. Wanda Film closed almost 7% lower after falling 20% over the previous five trading days, and China Film closed nearly 5% lower, down 17% over the past five trading days.
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