South Korea confirmed more new cases of coronavirus than China for a second day, with 571 infections reported on Friday. The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said 317 more cases were reported on Friday afternoon – in addition to 256 cases reported in the morning, taking the number of infections in the country to 2,337. It was the highest number reported in South Korea in a single day, surpassing the 505 announced on Thursday. In China, the National Health Commission said there were 327 new cases – compared with 433 a day earlier – of which 318 had been reported in Hubei province, as of Thursday. Hubei’s capital Wuhan continued to bear the brunt of the epidemic, with 313 of the new infections. The number of new cases outside Hubei dropped to nine, from 24 reported a day earlier. The commission said 44 new deaths had been reported, bringing the toll to 2,788. There have been 78,824 infections on the mainland, with 36,117 people recovering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. State of emergency on Japanese island of Hokkaido The northern Japanese island of Hokkaido has declared state of emergency over the rate of coronavirus transmission and has urged residents to stay home. “Hokkaido has been doing everything it can to contain the virus, but the crisis is deepening,” governor Naomichi Suzuki said on Friday evening. The state of emergency will last until March 19, he said. There are growing concerns over efforts in Japan – where the virus has been linked to at least four deaths and nearly 200 infections – to diagnose potential patients. The country does not have a centre for disease control, putting virus prevention and outbreak control in the hands of bureaucrats from the health ministry, aided by a group of experts. The government says it has the capacity to conduct 3,800 tests a day but only 5,700 tests were carried out between February 18 and 23, Japanese Health Minister Katunobu Kato said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has come under increasing criticism for his relatively relaxed stance on the outbreak compared with South Korea, with support for him falling to around 36 per cent in a weekend poll. On Thursday night, Abe urged schools across the country to close for around a month, though nurseries and after-school clubs are exempt. The government has also urged people to work from home and commute during off-peak hours, as well as to avoid large gatherings. The operator of Tokyo’s two Disney resorts – Disneyland and DisneySea – said on Friday that the parks would be closed for around two weeks because of the outbreak. Fears in Japan that limited virus testing is masking true scale of cases Hong Kong dog tests positive Hong Kong authorities announced on Friday that dogs, cats and other mammals belonging to confirmed Covid-19 patients must now undergo a mandatory 14 days in quarantine. The order comes after a dog belonging to a patient registered a “weak positive” for the virus that causes the disease. Previously, family members were allowed to care for the pets of the infected if they did not live with the patients and were not subject to quarantine themselves. “However, from now on, as a precaution, we will ask the owners to surrender their cat or dog to the [Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department] for quarantine,” said Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection. More tests will be conducted to confirm if the dog was infected with the virus or if there had been environmental contamination of the animal’s mouth and nose. Coronavirus: dog of Hong Kong patient tests ‘weak positive’ for virus Lungs key area of damage, autopsy finds The lungs are the most affected by the coronavirus, with insufficient evidence of damage to other organs, according to an autopsy report on a Covid-19 fatality, an 85-year-old man who was admitted to hospital in Wuhan on January 1 and died 28 days later. A report on the autopsy, in the February edition of China’s Journal of Forensic Medicine , said inflammatory lesions were focused on the patient’s lungs. It suggested the pathological features of the disease were similar to those caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) – both of which are in the same family of viruses. The autopsy, led by Liu Liang, a professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, found pulmonary fibrosis – scarring in the lungs – caused by the new coronavirus was not as serious as in Sars, but exudative inflammation – when fluid filters into lesions or areas of inflammation – was more obvious in Covid-19 patients. The Chinese scientists said this may be related to the short period of 15 days between diagnosis and death, adding that more research was needed to understand the effects of Covid-19 on other organs. How Disease X, the epidemic-in-waiting, erupted in China California monitors thousands for infection California health officials are monitoring more than 8,400 people amid concerns that the coronavirus is spreading among the general public for the first time in the US. Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday that 33 people in California had tested positive for the virus. Five people who tested positive have since moved out of the state. One of those who contracted the virus had no history of travel to an affected area or of contact with someone who may have been infected. US stocks fell – with the S&P 500 dropping more than 10 per cent since last Friday to enter a so-called market correction – on growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus outside China. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged for six straight days, and are on track for their steepest weekly fall since the 2008 global financial crisis. US reports first drug shortage related to Covid-19 The United States has its first outbreak-related drug shortage, according to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statement published on Thursday. The manufacturer of an unnamed human medication that was recently added to the FDA drug shortages list told the agency the shortage was related to a site affected by the virus. “The shortage is due to an issue with manufacturing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the drug. It is important to note that there are other alternatives that can be used by patients,” the notice said. “We will do everything possible to mitigate the shortage.” The FDA said it had been in touch with more than 180 makers of human medications and identified about 20 other drugs which source their active pharmaceutical ingredients or finished products solely from China. The agency said none of these firms had reported any shortage to date. Some US companies cut China reliance as outbreak disrupts output BTS cancels Seoul show as South Korea cases soar With 256 new cases on Friday, South Korea’s total number of infections reached 2,022 – the highest in the world outside China. K-pop boy band BTS cancelled its scheduled April concerts in Seoul amid growing concerns over the outbreak. According to the band’s label Big Hit Entertainment, the “Map of the Soul” show had been due to play at the capital’s Jamsil Olympic Stadium on April 11, 12, 18 and 19. The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said 182 of the new cases were in the southeastern city of Daegu, location of a church at the centre of South Korea’s outbreak. BTS forced to cancel Seoul concerts amid virus outbreak Singapore plans ban on South Korean sect Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs is looking to ban the Singapore chapter of Shincheonji , a controversial Christian sect linked to more than half of South Korea’s coronavirus cases. The ministry said Shincheonji “teaches that it is acceptable to use deceit and lies if it serves God’s purposes” and that the Singapore chapter of the church had used “similar deceptive methods” such as front entities to get Christian youth and young adults to join them. It said investigations into the Singapore chapter began last year but were accelerated after reports linking many of South Korea’s more than 2,000 virus patients to the branch of the church in Daegu. Using an acronym for the church’s full name, Shincheonji Church of Jesus, it said: “If the local members of SCJ had been in recent contact with the Daegu chapter of SCJ, then there could be health risks to Singapore. “However, interviews with members of SCJ in Singapore, who have been called up so far, found that they have not been in recent physical contact with persons from the Daegu cluster.” Iran situation worsens Iran reported the highest number of new infections in a single day on Thursday, with one of its vice-presidents among those to fall ill, and one of the country’s most respected theologians is reported to have died from the disease. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the 106 new cases brought the country’s tally to 388 since Iran announced its first infections on February 19. Among the latest sufferers is one of Iran’s seven vice-presidents, Masoumeh Ebtekar, who oversees women’s affairs and is the highest-ranking woman in the government. Ebtekar was the spokeswoman for the students during the Iran hostage crisis, when a group of Iranian revolutionary college students seized the US Embassy in Tehran, taking Americans inside hostage, in November 1979. The epidemic has cost 34 lives in Iran. According to media reports, among the deceased in Qom on Thursday was theologian Hadi Khroroshahi, who in 1981 was named Iran’s first ambassador to the Vatican. More countries report first cases The Netherlands, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and Lithuania are the latest to report coronavirus infections, with each announcing their first case as countries have begun stockpiling medical equipment and investors take flight, in expectation of a global recession. A Dutch person with a travel history to the Lombardy region of Italy has become the first patient to be infected with the coronavirus in the Netherlands. The 56-year-old man is in quarantine. So far 17 people have died in Italy and 650 have been infected, in Europe’s biggest coronavirus outbreak. World economy risks worst year since 2009 as virus dashes hopes for rebound “To prevent the sickness from spreading further in the Netherlands, (public health authorities) … will trace who has had close contact with the infected patient,” said the Dutch National Institute for Public Health in a statement. In Africa, Nigeria reported its first case of the disease , the third confirmed infection on the continent, while the Lithuanian government confirmed its first patient on Friday. So far, Antarctica is the only region with no infections. Additional reporting by Reuters, Agence France-Presse Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. 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