Khanh Hoa declared free of coronavirus
The decision lifting the epidemic status from Nha Trang was signed by Deputy Health Minister Do Xuan Tuyen on February in accordance with the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases.
Accordingly, Khanh Hoa meets the two criteria of Article 40 of the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases: no new cases are detected after a certain period of time; meeting different conditions as prescribed by the Prime Minister; monitoring, prevention and control measures in accordance with regulations.
Previously, the ministry declared a coronavirus epidemic in Khanh Hoa on January 31 after a hotel receptionist in the province’s beach town of Nha Trang tested positive for the virus. She was subsequently isolated and treated at the province’s Hospital of Tropical Diseases, where she made a full recovery and was discharged on February 4. The province has detected no new Covid-19 patient since. Khanh Hoa has therefore become the first infected province in Vietnam to be declared free of the Covid-19 epidemic. The other two provinces, Thanh Hoa and Vinh Phuc, are still considered at risk.
ASEAN LAUDS VIETNAM'S COVID-19 RESPONSE EFFORTS
Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc attended a meeting of the ASEAN Committee in Washington, the first held under Vietnam’s chairmanship, on February 24. Ambassadors of other ASEAN nations congratulated Vietnam on successfully hosting the AMM Retreat and highly valued the country for fostering common initiatives and effort to address regional and global issues, particularly the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by Covid-19.
THE RED CROSS DELIVERS CORONAVIRUS AID TO NORTH KOREA
Yesterday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announced that it will provide testing kits and medical equipment to support North Korea's efforts to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
The IFRC has sent volunteers to assist in the North's quarantine efforts and promote effective hygiene practices. This organization has responded to humanitarian needs in North Korea since 1995.
IFRC's Asia Pacific chief Xavier Castellanos was quoted as saying that the sanctions exemption was "a life-saving intervention and an important measure to ensure that sanctions do not bear a negative impact on the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea".
The exemption was granted by the United Nations Sanctions Committee after the United States said last week that it would look positively at requests for sending assistance. Morgan Ortagus, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, said the US has come forward to support aid work in North Korea to combat the coronavirus threat.
IRAN'S DEPUTY HEALTH MINISTER TESTED POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS
On Tuesday, Iran officially said that Iran's deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, tested positive for the virus. The officials said that Harirchi has been isolated since.
“The coronavirus test for Mr. Harirchi, the deputy health minister who was on the front lines combating the coronavirus, was positive,” said Alireza Vahabzadeh, a media adviser to the health minister. Harirchi coughed and appeared to be sweating heavily during a press conference on Monday with government spokesman Ali Rabiei.
Iran is in a verge of a major outbreak. Iranian health officials said the number of confirmed cases in the country has risen by 4, with 16 confirmed deaths. Iran’s Ministry of Health has reported 95 infected cases and about 900 suspected cases. To combat the coronavirus threat, authorities ordered the nationwide cancellation of concerts and soccer matches and the closure of schools and universities in many provinces, and urged Iranians to stay home.
THE US HAS CONFIRMED 60 CORONAVIRUS CASES AND DECLARED A CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY
On February 25, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, warned Americans that top officials expect the novel coronavirus to begin spreading at a community level.
On February 27, the US confirmed 60 coronavirus cases. There are total 40 infected Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to CNN.
Although US President Donald Trump predicted the coronavirus is "going to go away", the virus is spreading to Europe and the Middle East in a way that has experts warning it could soon become a full-blown pandemic.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said President Donald Trump’s administration is passing to Congress a USD 2.5 billion supplemental funding plan to accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities, and to procure much needed equipment and supplies.
Hong Kong boosted cash handouts to residents to fight virus
Hong Kong unveiled a record-high budget deficit as it aimed at supporting households and businesses that have suffered the economic fallout of the coronavirus and often-violent protests.
Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced the much-awaited 2020-21 Budget on February 26. In his statement, Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 and above will each receive a cash handout of HK$10,000 (US$1,200) in a HK$120 billion (US$15 billion) relief deal rolled out by the government to ease the burden on individuals and companies, while saving jobs.
For citizens, measures including salaries tax reduction and waiving rates on residential properties, while providing an extra allowance to eligible social security recipients. Relief measures for businesses including a low-interest loan with 100% guarantee provided by the government and a profits tax reduction.
TIANJIN UNIVERSITY DEVELOPS ORAL VACCINE FOR NEW CORONAVIRUS
Tianjin University (China) has successfully developed an oral vaccine to protect against novel coronavirus (Covid-19). Huang Jinhai, the professor who led the project, has himself taken four doses and has not experienced any side effects. The university is now looking for partners to promote clinical trials and broad usage.
The oral vaccine uses food-grade saccharomyces cerevisiae as a carrier and the spike protein of the coronavirus as a target spot to produce antibodies to fight Covid-19. Huang's team has produced samples of the oral vaccine in the form of capsules, milk tablets and granular formulations. They have also developed core technologies in the vaccine's development.
Huang said the vaccine, taken orally, could stimulate local mucosal immunization to prevent infection. It could also serve as a potential therapy for infected patients to combat the coronavirus.
In the next step, Huang's team is looking for qualified enterprises to work together on following evaluation procedures, so as to speed up clinical verification and expand the vaccine's usage.