Virus cases jump beyond epicentre

Marco Green
February 22, 2020

More than 500 inmates have been infected by the coronavirus in prisons across China, prompting the firing of several officials, according to reports Friday.

Authorities said officials deemed responsible for the outbreaks had been fired and the government had sent a team to investigate the Shandong episode, media reported.

China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, on Friday (Feb 21) revised the number of new cases it reported on Feb 19 to 775, from 349 previously.

"The implementation of our prevention and control measures have not been effective", said Wu Lei, head of the province's prison administration.

And in Zhejiang Province, 34 additional cases were confirmed at the Shilifen prison, leading to its director and another official to be ousted.

A policeman had "deliberately concealed" information about a visit to Wuhan in the middle of January and continued to work at the prison, Zhejiang Provincial Justice Department Deputy Directory Xu Xiaobo (徐曉波) said.

"COVID-19 anxiety has risen to a new level amid concerns of virus outbreaks in Beijing and outside of China", said Rodrigo Catril, a senior FX strategist at NAB.

Japan reported the deaths of two elderly passengers on Thursday, the first fatalities from aboard the ship where more than 630 cases account for the biggest cluster of infection outside China.

Two patients have died and nine are under quarantine, receiving medical treatment, he said, adding that 18 foreign patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals.

Health officials on Thursday called for the suspension of all religious gatherings in Qom.

The commission said there are 75,465 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, 11,633 of which are in critical condition.

Looking to contain the virus, officials urged residents to stay at home.

Members of China's Uighur minority living in exile have also warned of the risk of the coronavirus spreading in internment camps, where rights groups say more than one million people have been rounded up by authorities.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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