Rayhan Ahmed Topader:
Like hundreds of thousands of people across the world, the super-rich are preparing to self-isolate in the face of an escalation in the coronavirus crisis. But their plans extend far beyond stocking up on hand sanitiser. The world’s richest people are chartering private jets to set off for holiday homes or specially prepared disaster bunkers in countries that, so far, appear to have avoided the worst of the Covid-19 outbreak. Many are understood to be taking personal doctors or nurses on their flights to treat them and their families in the event that they become infected. The wealthy are also besieging doctors in private clinics in Harley Street, London, and across the world, demanding private coronavirus tests.To avoid overwhelming limited testing facilities, the NHS said it would test only people with a high chance of having the illness meaning people who had had close contact with a confirmed case or who had recently gone to a high-risk country. Ken Langone, co-founder of the Home Depot chain, knew where to turn when seeking medical advice on the outbreak. The 84-year-old billionaire called an executive and top scientist at NYU Langone Health, the New York hospital named after him and which he chairs. What I’ve been told by people who are smarter than me in disease is, ‘As of right now it’s a bad flu’,” he told Bloomberg. In late December 2019 people in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China began to get sick with a type of pneumonia that had not been seen before, marking the beginning of a new infectious disease.
This was later discovered to be a new type of coronavirus, a class of virus, that cause a wide variety of illnesses in mammals and birds. Respiratory infections are the most common type of infections caused by coronaviruses in humans. Coronaviruses are responsible for illnesses ranging in severity from the common cold through MERS and SARS in humans. The situation is changing rapidly. Please follow the daily situation reports from the World Health Organization (WHO). Updated statistics can be found via Johns Hopkins University. On March 11, Dr. Tedros, the Director-General of the WHO, declared the outbreak a pandemic and in his remarks at a press briefing on March 13, he indicated that there are now more new cases being reported daily than there were in China at the height of the epidemic. As of March 13, there have been 137,445 confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world according to Johns Hopkins University, an increase of almost 10,000 cases since the day before. In addition to Mainland China, confirmed cases have been reported in 122 other countries and regions across six continents. Italy has the second highest number of cases at 15,113, over 2,600 more cases than the day before. They report that 1,045 people have recovered and there are 1,016 deaths. Italy originally imposed a quarantine affecting 16 million people and has now expanded it to include the entire country.
Iran has the next highest number of cases at 11,364. They report that 2,959 people have recovered and there have been 514 deaths. Iran’s statistics are believed to be a severe undercount based on who has been infected and the rate of external transmission. South Korea is the country with the fourth highest number of cases; currently 7,979 people have been infected, 510 have recovered and 66 have died. There is a definitive slowdown of cases reported there over the past few days.
According to the CDC, there are now 1,629 cases in the U.S. almost 300 more cases than the day before keeping it at the eighth highest country. As of March 13, there have been 5,088 deaths, all but 1,908 in Mainland China. This means that nearly 38 percent of deaths have now occurred outside of Mainland China. More than 68,310 people are reported to have recovered, including 64,194 in Mainland China, which is 79 percent of those infected there. COVID-19 is very virulent (spreads rapidly) and the WHO announced that it now appears to have a fatality rate of 3.4 percent (the flu in the U.S. is less than one percent). As the disease spreads it will need to be determined whether this rate remains or decreases as more knowledge about COVID-19 emerges. Italy’s coronavirus death toll rose to 1,441 from 1,266 on Friday, according to official data. The number of confirmed cases has risen to 21,157 from 17,660 over the same period.
The filming in Mexico of a big budget Steven Spielberg-produced Amazon mini-series, starring Spanish actor Javier Bardem, has been suspended due to concerns about the coronavirus, according to a letter sent to cast and crew on Friday and seen by Reuters.
The production entitled Mexica, which centers on the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, began filming two weeks ago on location in Mexico City. Mexico has so far confirmed 26 cases of coronavirus. Only a skeletal wrap crew will continue working through next week, and cast and crew were informed that production might resume in December depending on how the public health crisis develops. Latvia will also close its borders to all foreigners from Tuesday to stop the spread of the outbreak.
Latvia has banned all public gatherings of more than 50 people, its prime minister, Arturs Krisjānis Kariņs, has announced. There are more than 2,200 coronavirus cases in the US but the country has not yet reached peak of the outbreak, according to top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci. Houthi rebels in control of northern Yemen have said that all passenger flights to and from the capital Sana’a will be suspended for two weeks to prevent Covid-19 from reaching the country, where five years of war have already decimated healthcare infrastructure. The announcement is particularly painful for many Yemenis in poor health since medical evacuation flights have only just restarted after years of negotiations with the Saudi-led military coalition, which controls the country’s airspace.
Similarly Yemen, Libya and Syria all of which have significant populations of displaced people and failing healthcare systems are yet to announce any cases of the novel coronavirus. Warring parties have insisted that the three Middle Eastern nations remain free of the pandemic, despite fears from aid agencies that cases may be being covered up or the virus may already be present but undetected. For Yemen in particular, where over 3 million people are displaced and over a third of the population needs humanitarian aid, an outbreak of coronavirus could be catastrophic. Iran, one of the worst hit countries, has close ties to both the Houthi administration in Yemen and Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria. The Syrian regime said on Friday that schools would close and most public events are cancelled until further notice as a precautionary measure.Unconfirmed reports from doctors in Damascus suggest the Syrian capital may already be dealing with the virus. The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Lombardy, the Italian region that has been worst affected by the crisis, rose by 76 to 966, according to the region’s senior health official Giulio Gallera.The number of new cases rose by 1,865 to 11,685, he told a news conference. The latest national death toll is due to be released later in the day. The Italy-wide tally stood at 1,266 Denmark has confirmed its first coronavirus-related death, according to Reuters. The Spanish government is set to announce a national lockdown, which would require all citizens to stay at home unless they need food, medical supplies or emergencies.
Authorities in Madrid have told residents to stay at home, as Seville cancel Holy Week celebrations. India has already announced that it will treat coronavirus as a notified disaster, which will enable it to take greater measures as part of the state disaster response fund. In China, the number of new coronavirus cases brought to the mainland from overseas has exceeded the number of locally transmitted infections, for the first time. Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, will shut schools and organise remote teaching for a minimum of two weeks. Cambodia has banned entry of visitors from Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the US. Also The India government has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country a notified disaster, in a move it called a special one-time dispensation, to contain the spread of the infectious virus. Thousands of Americans died because the confluence of events in Puerto Rico posed a genuinely hard problem. It was a big storm. It hit an island that had significant preexisting economic weaknesses including problems with its electrical infrastructure. The World Health Organisation has declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, meaning it has spread worldwide and affected huge number of people.
Writer and Columnist