As the government launches an aggressive plan to contain and defeat the coronavirus before the summer, China has announced the temporary closure of most of its tourist attractions in the country. The Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Potala Palace are among the attractions that are closed, and as Chinese tourists have been urged by their government to stay at home, destinations popular among this demographic like Japan, Australia and Thailand are also feeling the sting.
The World Health Organization also reported that it is still too early to confirm whether the coronavirus – which has affected more than 28,200 people worldwide and killed 563 in China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines – reached its peak. However, the WHO reported that Wednesday (February 5) was the first day that the total number of new cases in China declined.
“There has been a steady increase in cases in China’s Hubei province, but we haven’t seen the same acceleration in provinces outside of Hubei,” WHO spokesperson Mike Ryan said.
In Hubei province, the death of ophthalmologist Li Wenliang sparked public outcry. Li allegedly tried to issue a warning about potential viruses occurring in a Chinese province to spread uncontrollably. According to numerous media reports, in early January he was summoned by both medical officials and police and forced to sign a statement denouncing his warning as an unfounded and illegal rumor.
“[Dr Li] had the misfortune of being infected during the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, and all efforts to save him failed, ”Wuhan City Central Hospital said on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, the Chinese social media service. “We express our deepest regrets and condolences.”
As for the cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, the Diamond Princess is expected to be held for two weeks in port, preventing the 3,700 people on board from disembarking and spreading the virus. Sky News reports that many passengers have been consigned to their cabins, with one passenger likening the experience to a ‘floating prison’ – small groups of passengers are allowed access to a controlled deck area for some sun, fresh air and exercise, but are not allowed to gather in groups or come within three feet of each other.
At the time of writing, a total of 61 passengers have been diagnosed with coronavirus.