World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Warning: “This Is Not a Drill”


By Democracy Now

In Geneva, the director of the World Health Organization said there’s a “long list of countries not doing enough” to combat the virus.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “We’re concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough or have decided there is nothing they can do. … This is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”

In a positive sign, Chinese officials reported a drop-off in new coronavirus cases in the central province of Hubei, where the outbreak began. But the virus continues to spread elsewhere in China and in other parts of the world.

In Egypt, health authorities reported 12 new coronavirus cases on a Nile cruise ship.

In the Middle East, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority ordered the closure of Bethlehem Thursday following the diagnosis of the first seven coronavirus cases seen in the West Bank.

Iran ordered nearly 60,000 mosques closed ahead of Friday prayers, as the coronavirus death toll rose to 124. Among the dead was a top Iranian diplomat. Meanwhile, 8% of Iran’s parliament has tested positive for coronavirus.

In France, a member of Parliament was sent to an intensive care unit after testing positive.

And Japan ordered a two-week quarantine for anyone hoping to enter the country from China or South Korea, sparking a diplomatic row.

3,500 Cruise Ship Passengers Quarantined Off California Coast over Coronavirus Fears


In California, a Coast Guard helicopter airlifted coronavirus test kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship Thursday as it remained quarantined off the coast of San Francisco with thousands of people on board. The ship was denied a port after some passengers and crew became ill. San Francisco Emergency Management Director Mary Ellen Carroll said the quarantine would remain in effect at least until test results are completed Friday morning.

Mary Ellen Carroll: “There are 2,383 passengers on board the ship and 1,100 crew members. Of that, a total of 35 have shown flu-like symptoms during the course of this 15-day cruise.”

Health officials are tracking down some 2,500 people who disembarked from an earlier cruise on the Grand Princess, after some passengers tested positive for coronavirus, including a 71-year-old man who died earlier this week.

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