Covid-19: Special aircraft departs for Wuhan in second mission to evacuate 75 Malaysians

26th February 2020 Irwan Shah 0

A total of 107 Malaysians stranded in Hubei province were flown home in the first humanitarian aid mission carried out by the Malaysian government on February 4, 2020. — Bernama pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — A specially chartered aircraft has departed to Wuhan this evening in the second mission to bring back 75 Malaysian citizens with their families who have been stranded in the capital of China’s Hubei province following the Covid-19 outbreak in the republic.
According to the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) spokesman, the AirAsia flight took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) at 5.58pm.
Twenty-one mission personnel from five agencies are involved in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission, namely one each from Nadma, Foreign Ministry and Immigration Department; six from the Health Ministry; and 12 AirAsia crew members.
The return flight is scheduled to depart from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport at 1 am on Feb 26 and to arrive..

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Novel coronavirus NAT lab improves epidemic diagnosis in Huoshenshan Hospital

25th February 2020 伊桑·湖北武汉 0

A newly-built novel coronavirus Nucleic Acid testing (NAT) lab is officially put into operation in Huoshenshan Hospital.
By Sun Li, Wang Ruitao and Wang Junbo

WUHAN, Feb.25 — The newly-built novel coronavirus nucleic acid testing (NAT) lab in Huoshenshan Hospital was officially put into operation on February 24. The lab can handle more than 200 samples on a daily basis and will significantly improve the turnover rate of patients in the hospital.

According to Wang Zhihua, chief technician of the testing department in Huoshenshan Hospital, the initial setup of Huoshenshan Hospital did not include a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory (gene amplification laboratory, also known as nucleic acid testing laboratory). Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention helped them with all the testing. “We wasted a lot of time on the sample transfer process. It was also very risky because we could only see rough negative or positive results without detailed data of the reactions, which made further clinical advice and interpretation not easy. So we determined to build this laboratory to enhance the hospital's own testing capability, and to facilitate clinical research and treatment,” he said.

The new lab is located in the medical technology building in the northwest corner of the makeshift hospital. Its design has been subjected to careful and scientific scrutiny of experts of bio safety and gene amplification. The lab adopts P2 + safety level with negative pressure. Strict infection control standards and work flows are formulated in order to minimize the risk of infection. The medics will take strict three-level protection measures and operate in biological safety cabinets, the standard of which is much higher than that of ordinary 3A hospitals.

It is also known that the NAT lab has separated the reagent preparation area, sample processing area and amplification and result analysis area. It can carry out pathogen detection of suspected or confirmed cases as well as aerosol monitoring in the medical area. The number of samples tested daily would exceed 200.

Xia Xinyi, head of the testing department of Huoshenshan Hospital, expressed: “We can also further improve the testing capability through staff shifts and non-stop operation of the instrument, so we can achieve the testing of four or five hundred samples daily.” In terms of testing capacity, we have reached the level equivalent to a specialist hospital for infectious diseases, so as toensure the normal operation of 1,000-bed in hospital and rapid turnover of patients as well.

Amid the coronavirus lockdown, Chinese social media is full of laughter and anger | Yuan Ren

25th February 2020 伊桑·湖北武汉 0

With people trapped indoors, online activity of all sorts – funny, inspiring, government sanctioned and not – has bloomedIn many ways, the coronavirus outbreak in China has been one big social experiment, testing the thesis: what happens when an entire country goes into hibernation for weeks?
Since the outbreak was officially announced more than a month ago, less than one-third of China’s 300 million migrant workers have returned to work a fortnight after the lunar new year break; 270 million children, according to China’s official news agency, are staying home as schools remain shut throughout China.
What is Covid-19 – the illness that started in Wuhan?
Related: Coronavirus: China postpones National People's Congress
Continue reading…

Mekong Tourism Forum mulls new dates

24th February 2020 Wolfgang Holzem 0

BANGKOK, 24 February 2020: Final dates for the annual Mekong Tourism Forum are up in the air, and it is now confirmed the forum will not be held during the last week of April as earlier announced by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.

In an email post to Mekong tourism stakeholders, the MTCO executive
director Jens Thraenhart said: “We would like to inform you that due to the
Coronavirus, we are waiting to hear the final dates of the Mekong Tourism
Forum. MTF 2020 will take place in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Bagan in
Myanmar, later this year. Stay tuned for upcoming developments.”

While acknowledging MTF 2020 should take place “later this year”, Thraenhart may have firm dates once he meets with Myanmar’s tourism officials at ITB Berlin during the first week of March.

The forum that represents the interests of six Mekong Region nations (Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) was scheduled for 28 to 29 April after being moved a week forward from its traditio..