Live from Hong Kong
The coronavirus is killing people and commerce in China. Mixed messaging from China’s leaders leads to more questions and less belief in information from the government related to the virus.
Today in Hong Kong the schools announced that they will remain closed from the end of March through mid-March as a result of the coronavirus. Civil servants in Hong Kong are asked to stay home another week as well. Most companies in Hong Kong are following the governement’s recommendation to civil servants.
The airlines in Hong Kong are another indication of the impact the virus is having on Hong Kong, let alone China. The Hong Kong Immigration Department releases daily passenger arrivals and departures at the Hong Kong airport, one of the top ranked airports in the world:
The number of arrivals and departures has decreased between January 24th and February 12th astronomically, from 127,000 and 257,000 to 3,000 and 4,000, respectively. The world class Hong Kong airport, for all intensive purposes, is shut down. Since Saturday, any mainland arrivals must remain quarantined for 14 days per new actions taken in Hong Kong.
John Hopkins in the US maintains a site that counts cases by location and the numbers are increasing with over 60,000 now infected with the virus (see picture above). In addition the site shows that nearly 1,400 people have died and around 6,000 are recovered. This apparently doesn’t mean that nearly one in five infected with the virus dies because reports are that the virus is less fatal than SARS.
What is frustrating is that the China government will not allow the CDC into China to identify the cause of the coronavirus or where it first started. Breitbart reported in late January:
U.S. health officials said that they have been offering for weeks to send experts to help China combat the coronavirus that has claimed at least 106 lives.
At press conference Tuesday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the U.S. first offered to send experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 6 but China has not yet accepted the offer.
“CDC experts are standing by, ready willing and able to go immediately to China, either on a bilateral basis or under the auspices of the World Health Organization,” Azar said. “This is a major public health issue and we basically just need the best public health people we have in the world working on this.”
U.S. personnel could aid China in answering critical public health questions about how the virus spreads, its incubation period, and if it can be spread by those not yet showing symptoms, CDC Director Robert Redfield said.
Because China won’t let the CDC in to determine the cause of the virus and other information to aid recovery, many suspect wrong doing. One tweet identified the burning of organic matters outside Wuhan. It’s not sure what this organic matter is:
Senator Tom Cotton is also concerned with reports coming out of China, noting that a super lab developed for biological warfare was very near the market where the virus is suspected of originating:
Fact: super-lab is just a few miles from that market
Where did it start? We don’t know. But burden of proof is on you & fellow communists. Open up now to competent international scientists.
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) February 9, 2020
China too is apparently upset with the way the coronavirus has been managed announcing changes today:
China’s Communist Party has replaced the party heads in the coronavirus stricken province of Hubei and its capital Wuhan, state media said on Thursday, reporting the most high profile officials to be dismissed in the wake of the epidemic.
The removal of Jiang Chaoliang, the leading Communist Party official of Hubei province, and Ma Guoqiang, his counterpart in Wuhan, follows the dismissal of two provincial health officials on Tuesday, and is part of a wider effort by Beijing to remove bureaucrats it accuses of shirking their duties.
The central government has set up a special cabinet task force under Premier Li Keqiang to handle the crisis, and the new appointments in Hubei suggest that China’s senior leaders are taking greater control.
Shanghai mayor Ying Yong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, replacing Jiang, the official Xinhua news agency said without explaining why Jiang was removed.
Now rumors coming out of China are that the Ying Yong knew he was being assigned to Hubei province because he sent doctors from Shanghai to Hubei recently, knowing they are needed.
Due to the lack of transparency and delay in reporting, the whole world is anxious wondering what is really going on. The coronavirus in China, Hong Kong and now the world is causing deaths and massive anxiety.
Hat tip Doug