Coronavirus epidemic engulfs China’s prisons

0
66

The spike in cases in two jails outside Hubei – in the northern province of Shandong and Zhejiang in the east – made up most of the 258 newly confirmed Chinese infections outside the epicentre province on 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.

Hubei also reported 271 cases in its prisons. Provincial officials did not say when they had been diagnosed.

Data showed mainland China had 889 new confirmed cases and 118 deaths, with the most in Wuhan, which remains under virtual lockdown.

The virus has emerged in 26 countries and territories outside mainland China, killing 11 people, according to a Reuters tally.

South Korea is the latest hot spot with 100 new cases taking its total to 204, most in Daegu, a city of 2.5 million, where scores were infected in what authorities called a “super-spreading event” at a church, traced to an infected 61-year-old woman who attended services.

South Korean officials designated Daegu and neighbouring Cheongdo county as special care zones where additional medical staff and isolation facilities will be deployed. Malls, restaurants and streets in the city were largely empty with the mayor calling the outbreak an “unprecedented crisis”.

Another centre of infection has been the Diamond Princess cruise ship held under quarantine in Japan since Feb. 3.

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.

A plane carrying 129 Canadians evacuated from the ship has landed in Ontario, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Friday. All repatriated passengers on the chartered flight had tested negative, CBC News said.

In the Iranian city of Qom, state TV showed voters in the parliamentary election wearing surgical masks.

The country confirmed 13 new cases, two of whom had died. Most have been in Qom, a Shi’ite Muslim holy city where health officials on Thursday called for all religious gatherings to be suspended.

Fears of contagion triggered violence in Ukraine, where residents of a town clashed with police, burned tires and hurled projectiles at a convoy of buses carrying evacuees from Hubei to a quarantine centre