No risk of virus from Chinese shopping malls

MUSCAT/BEIJING: The Ministry of Health (MoH) has intensified awareness efforts on social media sites to prevent the new corona virus after it spread in many countries around the world.
Besides, the ministry held a number of programmes and workshops to raise preparedness level at the healthcare institutions and entry points.
The ministry said that it has not proved that the virus can spread by consuming non-animal products. It also said that there is no harm to import of products and commodities from China through online marketing channels as imported goods require more time to reach the customer than is need for the
virus to stay alive outside infected human or animal.
The ministry also said that there is no risk from visiting Chinese commercial centres since no cases have been reported among the staff of these centres so far. Besides, all arriving passengers from China are being scanned at the border points.

FUELLING CONCERN
Meanwhile, China’s official death toll from the new coronavirus spiked dramatically on Thursday after authorities changed their counting methods, fuelling concern the epidemic is far worse than being reported.
As the figures soared in China, a troubling new front opened abroad as neighbouring Vietnam placed 10,000 people under quarantine after six COVID-19 cases were discovered in a cluster of villages — the first such lockdown overseas.
Japan reported its first death of an infected person — the third fatality outside mainland China after the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Under criticism at home over the handling of the crisis, China’s Communist Party sacked two top-ranking officials in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
The developments came hours after President Xi Jinping claimed “positive results” from efforts to contain an epidemic that has now officially killed 1,367 people and infected nearly 60,000.
In Hubei and its capital Wuhan, where tens of millions of people are trapped as part of an unprecedented quarantine effort, 242 new deaths were reported. — Agencies