Coronavirus update: Imports rise

Guangdong reported three new COVID-19 cases yesterday, imported from the UK, France and the Philippines, respectively. One patient was released from hospital, leaving only 49 under treatment, according to the Guangdong Health Commission.

Hong Kong added nine new infections, seven of whom were imported patients or their close contacts, taking the city’s total of confirmed cases to 157. Four were released from hospital, bringing the total discharges to 88, while 173 remain under observation, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

The death toll in the GBA remained at 12.

Macau confirmed one new imported case, a 47-year-old from Spain, who flew in via Beijing. He joined a Korean casino worker who had returned from Portugal the previous day. These were Macau’s first cases in more than a month.

The rest of the country reported 18 new cases yesterday, of which 17 were imported. China has recorded 143 imported cases so far. Hubei added just one new case and announced 12 new deaths, according to the Hubei Health Commission.

Of China’s total 80,881 confirmed cases, around 85% have left hospital, with 930 discharged yesterday alone, according to the National Health Commission.

Related news:

1. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she would extend a red travel alert to all other countries, meaning all foreign visitors must go into 14-day quarantine, regardless of their symptoms, upon arrival. This does not apply to residents of Macau or Taiwan. She also said the scheduled reopening of schools on April 20 was now “quite impossible”. SCMP.

2. Macau has announced its 12th confirmed case, the second imported from Europe: a Spanish citizen who flew into Macau via Beijing. The news prompted a swift response from the government, which decreed that henceforth no foreigners would be allowed into Macau, except if they have employment visas. Residents of Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have been to foreign countries would still be able to enter but would need to undergo 14-day quarantines, either at home or at a designated place. GOV.MO.

3. Chinese authorities are focused on stepping up containment of imported cases, announcing that inbound travellers would be prosecuted for lying about their symptoms or not complying properly with tests. Caixin.

4. Major travel agencies in Hong Kong have suspended running international tour groups, with Wing On Travel and WWKPG Holdings scrapping all tours through April 30 and April 15, respectively. SCMP.

5. Hopes are rising for a vaccine to be found after tests on monkeys showed they had developed antibodies to the SARS-COV2 virus. SCMP. The US has started clinical trials of a vaccine in Seattle. SCMP.

6. People with blood type A may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus, while those with type O showed a lower rate of infection, according to a study published on MedRxiv by researchers from eight research institutes in China. SCMP.

7. A biomedical start-up based in Singapore and Malaysia believes it has a potent weapon – an antiviral drug which has successfully treated coronaviruses and leukaemia in cats. SCMP.

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