- Both South Korea and Vietnam are starting to restrict the movement of people en masse as more fatal cases of coronavirus appear outside of China.
- South Korea, which on Thursday recorded its first death from the virus, almost doubled its official count of infections in one day. The 2.5 million citizens of Daegu have been asked to stay home.
- Meanwhile a town of 10,000 in Vietnam is under a formal quarantine after 11 of the country’s 16 cases were traced to there, according to Reuters.
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Millions of people in South Korea and Vietnam are being encouraged – or forced – to stay home, showing the increased harshness of prevention measures as the coronavirus spreads beyond China.
South Korea reported its first death from the disease on Thursday.
It also recorded a new total of 104 infections, 53 of which were added on Thursday – almost doubling the number from the day before.
Thursday also saw two deaths recorded in Japan, elderly Japanese nationals who were aboard the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship.
It brought the number of deaths recorded outside China to 11, three of which from Thursday alone.
33 of the cases have been traced to a single church in the country’s fourth-largest city, Daegu, where all 2.5 million citizens have been encouraged by the local government to stay home whenever possible.
Mayor Kwon Young-jin made the request. According to The Guardian, he told reporters: “We are in an unprecedented crisis.” The request to stay home does not have the force of law.
Meanwhile in Vietnam, the 10,000 residents of Son Loi, 44km from Hanoi, have been under a strict 20-day quarantine since February 14, according to Reuters.
11 of Vietnam’s 16 cases were traced to the rural town, including a three-month-old baby.
Police there are staffing checkpoints outside the town and health officials, clad in protective gear and spraying disinfectants on cars.
Vietnam has banned flights in and out of China since February 1. Schools and universities in most provinces outside of Hanoi are closed until at least February 29, according to Vietnam Briefing.
The increased rates of infections in both countries stands in contrast to China, where reports in recent days suggest the rate of spread of the virus is slowing.
In China, state media reported that the number of recoveries has outpaced the number of new infections for the past three days.
However, according to The Guardian, this could be linked to a second change in how the virus is diagnosed rather than a genuine halt in the spread.
On February 13, recorded cases in China soared up as the diagnostic method was broadened. But on Thursday, “suspected cases” – earlier classed as “infections” – were again separated out from the main figures.
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