Voice of America

Voice of America 10 Jan 2020

New Strain of SARS Blamed for Pneumonia Outbreak in China


World health officials say an outbreak of pneumonia in the central Chinese city of Wuhan is being caused by a new strain of the virus that led to the deadly SARS outbreak over a decade ago. VOA's Jeff Custer reports from Washington.

The death of Dr. Li Wenliang prompted an outpouring of sorrow and grief in China. Dr. Li was one of the first frontline doctors who sounded an early alarm about the coronavirus outbreak. Authorities silenced him for his efforts. Now, his death has become a trigger for demands for greater transparency and free speech. China has perhaps the most advanced system of censorship in the world. The internet and news media are tightly controlled. But there's widespread anger over the government's attempts to suppress warnings about the coronavirus outbreak and then cover up the death of the doctor behind those warnings. Correspondent Mathias Bölinger spoke to one activist, who's put his personal freedom at risk to take the government to task over it.
The death toll in mainland China from the new coronavirus has surged to 811, the National Health Commission said on Sunday, as deaths in China surpassed those recorded during the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.
In China, a total of 37,198 infections have been confirmed, most of which are in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, where the virus originated.
Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu reports from Beijing.
The United Nations International Organization for Migration reports that over 83,000 Afghans have returned to Afghanistan from Iran since January 1st of this year; a significant rise primarily caused by the fear of the quickly spreading coronavirus in Iran. VOA's Khalil Noorzai files this report from Herat, Afghanistan narrated by Bezhan Hamdard
Hand-washing and social distancing are crucial in the fight against coronavirus
That's nearly impossible for refugees and migrants who live in deplorable conditions.
Aid groups are warning of carnage, if there's an outbreak in overcrowded camps such as in Bangladesh, Greece, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela.
Humanitarian activists are appealing for hygiene kits, water sanitation and training for health workers to protect refugees.
And governments providing shelter are under pressure to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
But with carers sick, volunteers gone and governments overwhelmed - what needs to be done to save them?

Presenter: Dareen Abughaida

Apostols Veizos, director of the medical operational support unit at Doctors Without Borders in Greece.
Murie Tschopp, country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Babar Baloch, spokesman for the United Nations Humanitarian Agency, the UNHCR.

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