Last night, we reported that national health officials in Beijing had confirmed the first coronavirus case in Wuhan on Monday morning since April 3, meaning this was the first case discovered in the city since the reopening began. And just like with cockroaches, when we find one case of the virus, it’s reasonable to suspect there are more.
All of this might be besides the point – remember, it’s China we’re talking about here: Officials have been assiduously following the CCP’s propaganda protocols, even as the few foreign reporters left in the country often still manage to get word out to the international press about incidents of viral recurrence.
As Nikkei Asian Review reported on Monday morning Tokyo Time, citing Chinese authorities, that a city in northeast China has been re-classified as “high risk”, the most serious level in a new three-tiered zoning system adopted by the Chinese government. That tier should mandate a return to lock down conditions, more or less. City officials in Jilin raised the risk level of the city of Shulan to ‘high’ from ‘medium,’ having raised it from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ just a day earlier when a local woman tested positive. 11 new cases have since been detected in Shulan as of Saturday, all of them relatives or close contacts of the woman who was originally infected.
Global Times Executive Editor Hu Xijin boasted on Twitter Monday that ‘all Chinese’ had been made aware of these latest developments.
China reported 20+ new infection cases in the past two days. They came from two chains of infection in Wuhan and a county. The two new chains are made known to nearly all Chinese. The US also needs such rigorous prevention/control, otherwise it’s very risky to reopen the economy.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 11, 2020
Here’s more from the Nikkei report:
Shulan has increased virus-control measures, including a lockdown of residential compounds, a ban on non-essential transportation and school closures, the Jilin government said.
The new cases pushed the overall number of new confirmed cases in mainland China on May 9 to 14, according to the National Health Commission on Sunday, the highest number since April 28.
Among them was the first case for more than a month in the city of Wuhan in central Hubei province where the outbreak was first detected late last year.
North Korea hasn’t confirmed even a single infection, though it’s widely suspected the virus has deeply penetrated North Korean society.
Meanwhile, as we reported earlier, Disneyland Shanghai reopened on Monday to great fanfare, even as the park could only fill the park to 20% of capacity, a level at which it might be impossible to operate the park profitably.
In other news, a cluster of new cases discovered in a glitzy nightlife district of Seoul that prompted the city to order bars and nightlife businesses to close has grown to 86 cases – qualifying it as a ‘super-spreader’ event. Those infections purportedly started with one infected clubgoer. Jung Eun-kyeong, head of the Korean CDC, said the total number of cases linked to nightclubs in Itaewon in Seoul increased to 86 as of noon Monday after the first case was confirmed on May 6. Among 86, 63 visited the clubs and 23 are family members and colleagues at work of infected people. 51 cases were reported in Seoul, 21 in Gyeonggi, 7 in Incheon, 5 in North Chungcheong, 1 in Busan and 1 in Jeju. The cases involved 78 men, and 8 women. Notably, officials said they’re expecting more cases linked to the clubs this week, given the virus’s sometimes-lengthy incubation period.
In response to this latest cluster, South Korea has opted to delay reopening schools, which it had planned to do this week, because of the Itaewon cluster.
Fortunately, they added, this latest outbreak isn’t comparable to the outbreak at the Shincheonji Church in Daegu which helped kick-start SK’s outbreak.
Elsewhere, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 22 new cases on Sunday, the city’s lowest single-day total since March 30. However, Japanese media organization Yomiuri has reportedly found 100 cases in Tokyo that have allegedly omitted from the total.
In Europe, Switzerland became the first western European nation to reopen restaurants, cafes, shops and museums across the country as it relaxes all but the most stringent of its lockdown restrictions. Swiss health authorities reported just 39 new coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the country’s total to 30,344. So far, 1,543 patients have died in Switzerland.
Austria will follow later this week with restaurants and cafes allowed to reopen beginning on Friday.
Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll slowed to a 2-month low on Monday as the country eased much of the lockdown restrictions in roughly 51% of the country (excluding many of its largest cities, including Madrid).
The ministry of health said on Monday that 123 people died during the prior day, the lowest death toll since March 18, which was barely three days after the lockdown was imposed. Data from a Spanish health institute have shown that ‘excess deaths’ in the country have receded, eliminating the margin between the historical average deaths and the deaths reported weekly in Spain.
In Britain, Britons are starting life under the new lockdown conditions unveiled by PM Boris Johnson last night.
Yet as dozens of US states start to take more dramatic steps to reopen their economies this week, some of the most closely-watched reopenings are hitting speed bumps. As we reported yesterday, Germany’s R number has risen to about 1.1, past the threshold of ‘1’ – which means the body of infected patients is growing, rather than shrinking – at which the German government has said it would halt, or even reverse, its reopening.
Finally, in Russia, officials reported another record jump in new infections, while the countrywide death toll topped 2k on Monday, highlighting Russia’s worsening outbreak and the reality that the government in Moscow seems mostly powerless to curb the spread.
These latest numbers pushed Russia past Italy as the country with the third-largest outbreak in the world (excluding China, of course).
After confirming another 11,656 cases on Monday, the total case number in Russia passed 220k, while 94 people died, bringing the death toll to 2,009.
Russia now has the world’s second-fastest rate of new infections after the US, according to the Moscow Times.
On Monday. President Vladimir Putin is due to meet with senior officials to discuss yet another extension of Russia’s national lockdown, which is due to end on Tuesday, while many Russian officials have whispered that the economy might not reopen until late June.