The Japanese Government has recommended this Thursday the temporary closure of all primary and secondary schools in the country for almost the entire month of March, to try to contain the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which has so far caused eight fatalities in Japan . The measure must be implemented as of next Monday, March 2 by each local authority in the country, and adds to those announced on Tuesday, including promoting telecommuting and not leaving home in 17 of the 43 prefectures.
“Based on the priority of protecting the health and safety of children, we want to prevent the possible risk of contagion on a large scale in places where both students and teachers spend many hours daily,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the beginning. from a meeting with his Cabinet to discuss the situation of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The pathogen has left more than 900 infections in the country, most of them in cruise passengers Diamond princess.
“We are making every effort to prevent the spread of contagion in all places, and in this regard, the next two weeks are extremely important,” said the prime minister. This measure adds to the request made on the eve of postponing for two weeks all the massive sporting or cultural events scheduled for these dates.
South Korea and the US postpone their joint maneuvers
South Korea and the US have decided to postpone the celebration of their joint military spring exercises, scheduled for March, due to the spread of the coronavirus. The pathogen has infected 1,595 people in South Korea, according to the latest count of the Korean Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (KCDC). Twelve people have died in this country.
Of those infected, 21 are soldiers of the South Korean Army, which has put 9,500 soldiers in preventive quarantine. US military forces in South Korea also confirmed on Wednesday their first Covid-19 patient, the disease caused by the coronavirus, among its ranks, a 23-year-old soldier from the Chilgok base in the southeast of the country.
The two states have agreed to postpone sine die holding the maneuvers to prevent further contagion. The decision “supports the Covid-19 containment and mitigation plan in South Korea,” the Joint Forces Command (CFC), quoted by Yonhap, said in a statement. This is the first time that the maneuvers are postponed due to sanitary reasons. South Korea on Sunday decreed the red alert, the maximum, for the virus.
The country recorded on Thursday 334 new cases, just a hundred less than China (440). While the epidemic seems to stabilize in the second world economy, contagion continues to skyrocket in South Korea, the main focus outside of China and threatens to become the most active if the situation continues.
The majority of infections are concentrated in Daegu, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Of the 334 new cases, 307 come from that city. Together with the province of North Gyeongsang, there are a total of 1,338 infections. Specifically, the main focus of infections is in a religious sect, the Shincheonji church, in Daegu. South Korean authorities have begun examining about 210,000 group members in the country; Currently, 833 of the 1,848 examined in Daegu have tested positive.
Signs of stabilization in China
Since Tuesday, the sum of infections outside China exceeds the new daily infections in the Asian giant. The National Health Commission reported on Thursday 440 new cases and 29 deaths, below the figures at the beginning of the week (508 infections and 71 deaths on Monday). Of the total of 78,630 infections registered in the country to date, 65,596 have taken place in Hubei, province to which Wuhan belongs, where the outbreak occurred.
However, a meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday concluded that the epidemic in Hubei is still “complicated” and “challenging.” The meeting, chaired by Xi Jinping, warned of the risks of new outbreaks in other areas.
Saudi Arabia suspends entry to the country of pilgrims to Mecca
Saudi Arabia has suspended this Thursday the entry to the country of foreign pilgrims to Mecca in order to curb the expansion of Covid-19. The measure, which is unprecedented, also temporarily interrupts the issuance of tourist visas to citizens of countries with outbreaks of coronaviruses. So far, no case has been reported within the kingdom, whose holy places visit millions of Muslims from around the world every year. Neighbor Iran, where seven other people have died and 106 new cases have been diagnosed, Friday’s noon prayer has been canceled. Read the full story here.
The majority of Asian stock exchanges registered red numbers after the opening on Thursday, dragged down by the fall of Wall Street after the US health authorities confirmed what is probably the first case of local coronavirus transmission in the country. The Japanese Topix stock index plunged 1.7%, the fourth day of consecutive falls. Kospi, in South Korea, followed the downtrend line down 0.84%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng also recorded losses of 0.66%. Shanghainese parquet has been the morning exception, earning 0.57%.