Coronavirus update: Chinese quarantine hotel collapses leaving dozens trapped, Pope to deliver prayer via video livestream
As coronavirus continues to spread to new countries, about 70 people have been trapped after a five-storey hotel used for coronavirus quarantine collapsed in the Chinese city of Quanzhou.
This story is being updated throughout the day. Follow along for the latest updates.
NSW diagnoses jump to 36
The number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in New South Wales has risen to 36 overnight.
The most recent cases include a male in his 60s who recently returned from Italy and a male in his 40s who is a known close contact of a previously confirmed case.
The latter travelled on two domestic flights between Sydney and Canberra on February 28 — QF1509 and VA651 — before being identified as a close contact.
New South Wales Health is urging anyone who was on the first flight in rows two to six or on the second flight in rows three to seven to self isolate and contact their local health authorities.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education said Epping Boys High School in Sydney will reopen on Monday after closing on Friday due to a student becoming infected.
Cruise on the Nile quarantined
A cruise ship on Egypt’s Nile River with over 150 tourists and local crew has been quarantined in the southern city of Luxor, with authorities saying 45 people on board have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
A Taiwanese-American tourist who had previously been on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan, the World Health Organisation (WHO) informed Egyptian authorities, who then tested everyone on the ship.
Health authorities first found that a dozen of the ship’s Egyptian crew members had contracted the fast-spreading virus, and said they did not show symptoms, according to a joint statement from Egypt’s Health Ministry and the WHO.
Officials said the 45 would be transferred to isolation in a hospital on Egypt’s north coast, while the passengers and remaining crew were quarantined on the ship to await test results.
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The 12 infected crew were isolated on the third floor of the vessel away from the tourists, including two children, the 30-year-old chef said. The tourists then waited for test results.
The cruise started in Luxor, about 655 kilometres south of Cairo and made three stops before reaching its destination at Aswan. On the return trip there were three more stops, Mr Salah said, potentially expanding the number of people exposed to the virus.
“It’s still unclear how many people came in contact with the group in the infected ship,” a senior police officer in Luxor said.
Cruise ships on the Nile often dock side by side, with passengers getting on and off by walking through several other vessels.
Dozens trapped in collapsed quarantine hotel in China
About 70 people have been trapped after a five-storey hotel used for coronavirus quarantine collapsed in the Chinese city of Quanzhou in Fujian Province.
Video posted online showed orange-clad rescue workers clambering over mounds of rubble.
The building collapsed at about 7:30pm local time and 38 people were rescued in the following two hours, the Quanzhou authorities said.
The municipality said 36 emergency rescue vehicles such as cranes and excavators, 67 firefighting vehicles, 15 ambulances, and more than 700 firefighters, medical and other rescue workers were at the scene as the operation stretched into the night.
There were no immediate reports of deaths.
The official People’s Daily said the hotel had opened in June 2018 with 80 rooms and was being used to quarantine people during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Fujian provincial government said that as of Friday, the province had 296 cases of coronavirus and 10,819 people had been placed under observation after being classified as suspected close contacts.
No reason was given for the collapse of the hotel.
Pope to deliver prayer via video amid coronavirus outbreak
Pope Francis will deliver his next two public blessings via video to prevent crowds from gathering as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.
The Vatican said that on Sunday he would not address crowds from a window overlooking St Peter’s Square and would not hold his general audience there either on Wednesday.
They will be held without general public participation from inside the Vatican.
The 83-year-old Pope cancelled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy, but the Vatican has said he is suffering only from a cold that is “without symptoms related to other pathologies”.
Tens of thousands of people gather in the square every Sunday and thousands of others attend his weekly general audience, which is held either outdoors in the square or in a large audience hall inside the Vatican, depending on the weather.
A Vatican employee tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, the first case in the tiny city-state that is surrounded by Rome.
Death tolls and infection cases rise in Europe
The death toll from Italy’s coronavirus outbreak has risen by 36 to 233 officials said, with the official number of cases in the country now at 5,883 cases from 4,636 cases on Friday.
France’s Health Ministry said on Saturday that two more people had died from the coronavirus, bringing the total death toll to 11 people.
One of the two fatalities was confirmed in the northern part of France, the other in Normandy, the ministry said in a statement.
France has now 716 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of 103 compared with a day earlier, the ministry said.
Great Britain also saw its second death caused by COVID-19, with a man in his early 80s who had underlying health conditions dying in Milton Keynes University Hospital.
The number of confirmed cases in the United Kingdom has increased to 206, a rise of 43.
Meanwhile, Germany’s number of infection cases has jumped to 684 on Saturday morning, an increase of 45 over Friday night according to the country’s public health agency.
The cases are concentrated in the west and south of the country, with 346 in the state of North Rhine Westphalia and over 100 each in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg, where the country’s initial cases were registered.
The official total of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 60 on Saturday to 188, health officials said.
12-year-old girl first case in Malta
Malta has confirmed its first coronavirus case, a 12-year-old girl of Italian origin who lives in the Mediterranean island nation with her family.
Health Minister Chris Fearne said the girl and her family had visited northern Italy in late February and early March, returning to Malta via Rome.
The family self-quarantined as instructed but the girl started to experience symptoms.
She was tested on Friday and results came back positive on Saturday morning.
The girl is being held in an isolated section of Malta’s main public hospital, together with her sister and parents.
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