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2020 coronavirus outbreak in Asia

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2020 coronavirus outbreak in Asia
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationAsia
First case1 December 2019
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China[1]
Confirmed cases87,679[2]
Recovered42,190[3]
Deaths
2,991[4]
Territories
32

This article documents countries in Asia affected by and responses to the coronavirus responsible for the 2019–20 outbreak first documented in Wuhan, China, and may not include all the contemporary major responses and measures.

Confirmed cases[edit source | edit]

Afghanistan[edit source | edit]

On 23 February 2020, at least three citizens of Herat who had recently returned from Qom were suspected of COVID-19 infection. Blood samples were sent to Kabul for further testing.[5] Afghanistan later closed its border with Iran.

On 24 February, Afghanistan confirmed the first COVID-19 case involving one of the three people from Herat, a 35-year-old man who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.[6]

Armenia[edit source | edit]

Armenia confirmed the first case of coronavirus during the late night of 29 February/early morning of 1 March, announcing a 29-year-old Armenian citizen had returned from Iran and was confirmed positive for the virus. His wife was tested and results came in negative. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that he is "now in good condition." About 30 people who came in contact with him are being tested and will be quarantined. Armenia had earlier closed its border with Iran.[7]

Azerbaijan[edit source | edit]

The country confirmed its first case on 28 February from a Russian national, who was travelling from Iran.[8] 2 more cases were confirmed in the country. They were all isolated. Azerbaijan later closed borders with Iran.[9]

Bahrain[edit source | edit]

Cambodia[edit source | edit]

Map of the outbreak in Cambodia
(as of 29 January):
  Confirmed cases reported
  Suspected cases reported

On 27 January 2020, Cambodia confirmed the first COVID-19 case in Sihanoukville, a 60-year-old Chinese man travelling to the coastal city from Wuhan with his family.[10] Three other members of his family were placed under quarantine as they did not appear to have symptoms, while he was placed in a separate room at the Preah Sihanouk Referral Hospital.[11][12][13]

The cruise ship MS Westerdam arrived in Sihanoukville on 13 February after it had been rejected by other countries due to virus concerns. Hundreds of passengers disembarked there. On 15 February, one of them was stopped in Malaysia and later tested positive, leading to concern that other passengers may also have been infected.[14]

Mainland China[edit source | edit]

Coronavirus cases in China
COVID-19 cases in mainland China broken down by provinces[15]
COVID-19 cases in mainland China broken down by prefectures[16]

Mainland China during the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak

Georgia[edit source | edit]

All flights from China and Wuhan to Tbilisi International Airport were cancelled until 27 January.[needs update] The Health Ministry announced that all arriving passengers from China would be screened. Georgia also temporarily shut down all flights to Iran.[17]

On 26 February, Georgia confirmed its first COVID-19 case. A 50-year-old man, who returned to Georgia from Iran, was admitted to Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tbilisi. He came back to the Georgian border via Azerbaijan by taxi[18][19][20][21]

On 28 February, Georgia confirmed that a 31-year-old Georgia woman who had travelled to Italy tested positive and was admitted to Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tbilisi.[21]

29 more are being kept in isolation in a Tbilisi hospital, with Georgia’s Minister of Health, Amiran Gamkrelidze stating there was a “high probability” that some of them have the virus.[22]

Hong Kong[edit source | edit]

As of 1 March, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection had identified 100 cases (Including 2 Suspected Recovered Cases) in Hong Kong, with 36 patients since recovered and 2 died.[23][24][25]

India[edit source | edit]

Map of the outbreak in India
(as of 3 March):
  Confirmed cases reported
  Suspected cases reported

The Government of India issued a travel advisory to its citizens, particularly for Wuhan, where about 500 Indian medical students study.[26] It directed seven major international airports to perform thermal screening of passengers arriving from China.[27][28]

On 30 January, India confirmed its first case in a student who had returned from Wuhan University to Kerala.[29] In early February, two other cases were confirmed in Kerala in people who had also been in China. All three of them successfully recovered.[30]

105 people were quarantined across Maharashtra for possible exposure to the virus, four of whom were kept under observation, as of 1 March, with the rest being discharged. Another suspected case was detected at the Mumbai Airport on 1 March.[31]

On 2 March, three other people were tested positive, taking the number of confirmed cases in the country to six.[32]

Indonesia[edit source | edit]

A total of 135 airport gates and port docks have been installed with thermal scanners by the Ministry of Health. They have also provided 100 hospitals with isolation rooms.

Indonesia banned all flights from and to Mainland China starting from 5 February. The government also stopped giving free visa and visa on arrival for Chinese nationals. They banned those who live or stay in Mainland China for at least 14 days before from entering or transiting Indonesia. Indonesians are discouraged from travelling to China.[33]

On 24 February, it was confirmed that nine of seventy-eight Indonesians on board Diamond Princess are infected with the virus. The government repatriated and then quarantined them for 28 days in Sebaru Kecil Island, Thousand Islands, Jakarta, along with people from World Dream.[34]

On 2 March, President Joko Widodo confirmed two cases of coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in the country.[35] According to the Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto, the two patients were contracted from an infected Japanese in Depok and later tested positive in Malaysia. Both are now hospitalized in North Jakarta.[36][37]

Iran[edit source | edit]

Iran reported its first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections on 19 February 2020 in Qom.[38] Later that day, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education stated that both had died.[39]

By 21 February, a total of 18 people had been confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infections[40] and four COVID-19 deaths had occurred.[39][41] On 24 February, according to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, twelve COVID-19 deaths had occurred in Iran, out of a total of 64 SARS-CoV-2 confirmed infections.[42][43]

On 25 February, Iran's Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi tested positive for COVID-19, having shown some signs of infection during the press conference.[44] On 28 February, the official number of deaths in Iran rose to 34, the highest deaths recorded outside China.[45][46] Iran currently has the most cases in Western Asia as well as the fourth most cases worldwide, with China, South Korea, and Italy surpassing Iran.

Iraq[edit source | edit]

Israel[edit source | edit]

On 21 February, Israel confirmed the first case of COVID-19.[47]

Japan[edit source | edit]

The first case was confirmed in a 30-year-old Chinese national who had previously travelled to Wuhan, developed a fever on 3 January, and returned to Japan on 6 January.[citation needed]

Jordan[edit source | edit]

On 24 February, Jordan temporarily banned people entering from China, South Korea, and Iran.[48]The kingdom has been screening everyone who enters Jordanian border crossings and airports, with mandatory chest and throat examinations as well as temperature checks. Jordanians who test positive will be quarantined for 2 weeks.[49]

On March 2, the Prime Ministry of Jordan reported the first case of coronavirus in Jordan.[50][51] The Jordanian had returned from Italy two weeks prior, before quarantine procedures for Jordanians returning from Italy had been put in place.[50][52]

Kuwait[edit source | edit]

Kuwait is currently the worst affected country in the Arab World and second only to Iran by number of infected in West Asia. 56 cases have been discovered in Kuwait as being infected.[53]

Lebanon[edit source | edit]

On 21 February 2020, Lebanon confirmed the first case of COVID-19, a 45-year-old woman travelling from Qom, Iran tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was transferred to a hospital in Beirut [54]

Macau[edit source | edit]

Malaysia[edit source | edit]

Eight Chinese nationals were quarantined at a hotel in Johor Bahru on 24 January after coming into contact with an infected person in neighbouring Singapore.[55] Despite early reports of them testing negative for the virus,[56] three of them were confirmed to be infected on 25 January.[57][58]

On 16 February, the 15th infected patient involving a Chinese female national had fully recovered, becoming the 8th patient cured from the virus in Malaysia.[59] The following day, the first infected Malaysian also reportedly recovered, becoming the 9th cured.[60]

Nepal[edit source | edit]

Map of the outbreak in Nepal
(as of 26 January):
  Confirmed cases reported
  Suspected cases reported

A Nepali student who had returned from Wuhan[61] became the first case of the country and South Asia on 24 January, after a sample sent to WHO Collaborating Centre Hong Kong.[62][63] He was discharged after his condition improved[64][65] and was told to quarantine himself at home.[66]

Oman[edit source | edit]

On 24 February, the first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed. These cases involved two Omani women who returned from Iran.[67][68]

On February 27, the number of cases in Oman increased to 6. All cases in Oman are in stable condition so far. The cases were linked to recent travel to Iran.[69]

Pakistan[edit source | edit]

File:Coronavirus.3rdMarch .png
Spread of the Coronavirus in Pakistan by 3rd March, 2020
  Confirmed cases reported

The Government of Pakistan began screening of passengers at airports in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar to prevent entry of coronavirus in the country.[70] Pakistan International Airlines also announced to pre-screen passengers before they board the plane on its flights at the Beijing Capital International Airport.[71] On 27 January, the Government of Gilgit Baltistan decided to delay opening the China-Pakistan border crossing point at Khunjerab Pass, scheduled for February.[72] The Pakistan–Iran border was also closed.[73]

On 1 March, two more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Karachi and Islamabad, bringing the country's total to four.[74] The first and second reported patient has travel history to Iran, where health officials believe he got infected.[75]

Philippines[edit source | edit]

The first case in the Philippines was confirmed on 30 January.[76] On 5 February, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed a third case.[77]

Qatar[edit source | edit]

According to the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar, a case of the virus has been confirmed on 29 February. The case was a Qatari national who had recently came back from Iran.[78][79][80]

Saudi Arabia[edit source | edit]

On 27 February 2020, Saudi Arabia announced temporary suspension of entry for individuals wanting to perform Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca or to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as well as tourists. The rule was also extended to visitors traveling from countries where SARS-CoV-2 posed a risk.[81]

On 28 February, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia announced temporary suspension of entry for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens to Mecca and Medina. Citizens of the GCC who had been in Saudi Arabia for more than 14 continuous days and didn’t show any symptoms of COVID-19 would be excluded from this rule.[81]

Saudi Arabia confirmed the first case on 2 March, a Saudi national returning from Iran via Bahrain.[82]

Singapore[edit source | edit]

The first case in Singapore was confirmed on 23 January.[83] Subsequently, the first locally transmitted cases were reported on 4 February. Yong Thai Hang, a shop that mainly serves Chinese tourists, was identified as the locus of the infection, where four women without recent history of travel to China contracted the virus.[84]

As of 3 March, there were a total of 110 confirmed cases.[85] On the same day, there were 11 confirmed cases that had not been traced back to a high risk area or local source of transmission.[86]

South Korea[edit source | edit]

"South Korea, with nearly 5000 cases, has seen the largest outbreak outside China." [87] The first confirmed case of the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Korea was announced 20 January 2020.[88] On 19 February, the number of confirmed cases increased by 20 and on 20 February by 53, giving a total of 104, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Korea (KCDC), with the sudden jump mostly attributed to "Patient No. 31" who attended a gathering at a Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony church in Daegu.[89] As of 20 February 2020, the number of confirmed cases in South Korea was the third largest after China and the infections on the Diamond Princess.[citation needed] As of 24 February 2020, the number of confirmed cases in South Korea is the second largest.

Sri Lanka[edit source | edit]

Taiwan[edit source | edit]

The first case in Taiwan was confirmed on 21 January.[90]

Thailand[edit source | edit]

On 13 January, Thailand had its first case, also the first outside China.[91][92][93]

On 1 March, the first confirmed death in Thailand was reported.[94]

As of 2 March, there were a total of 43 confirmed cases with 11 people in-patient and 31 discharged from hospital.[95]

United Arab Emirates[edit source | edit]

The first case in the United Arab Emirates was confirmed on 29 January.[96][97]

Vietnam[edit source | edit]

The first two confirmed cases were hospitalised on 22 January at Chợ Rẫy Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City. These were a Chinese man travelling from Wuhan to Hanoi to visit his son living in Vietnam, and the son, who is believed to have contracted the disease from his father.[98]

On 13 February, the father of an earlier case was tested positive, making the number of cases sixteen.[99] By 25 February, all of them had recovered.[100]

Suspected cases[edit source | edit]

Mongolia[edit source | edit]

27 February 2020, there are currently no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Mongolia. The government of Mongolia, all emergency agencies and health organizations are still hardworking and operating 24 hours to preventing from the COVID-19.[101]

The Ministry of Health of Mongolia quarantined all colleges, schools and kindergartens until 30 March.[102] Chinggis Khaan International Airport and borders with China has tightened security, and doing medical checkups on passengers who came from China and other infected countries.[103]

As of 18 February, there were at least 6 suspected cases; Mongolia isolates suspected cases as well as those who had contact with them.[104]

In 11 February, the President of Mongolia issued a decree calling for the public to cancel the widespread celebrations of Tsagaan Sar holiday, which is to be marked between 24 and 26 February.[105] On 19 February, The Ministry of Health of Mongolia extended the quarantining date of all colleges, schools and kindergartens until 30 March.[106]

North Korea[edit source | edit]

Map of the outbreak in North Korea
(as of 31 January):
  Confirmed cases reported
  Suspected cases reported

From 22 January, North Korea banned foreign tourists.[107]

On 23 January, suspected cases in Sinuiju were quarantined.[needs update][108]

On 30 January, North Korea's news agency KCNA declared a "state emergency" and reported the establishment of anti-epidemic headquarters around the country.[109]

On 2 February, KCNA reported that all people who entered the country after 13 January have been placed under "medical supervision."[109]

On 7 February, five North Koreans in Sinuiju of North Pyongan Province have died, according to sources gathered by South Korea.[110] Within the same day, a North Korean female living in the Pyongyang capital is also reportedly infected.[111] Despite no confirmation by North Korean authorities on the claims, the country has implemented stricter measures to combat the spread of the virus.[112][113]

Although South Korean media shared news hinting at the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic to North Korea, the WHO denies the veracity of such claims. On 18 February, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Worker's Party of Korea, quoted a public health official reiterating the country had "no confirmed case of the new coronavirus so far". The WHO prioritises aid for North Korea, including the shipment of protective equipment and supplies.[114]

Prevention in other countries[edit source | edit]

Armenia[edit source | edit]

Liana Torosyan, the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, advised that samples will be sent to European labs as Armenia does not have the capacity to test for novel coronavirus.[115][116]

The Ministry of Health of Armenia stated that passengers arriving will be screened for fever. Entry restrictions were not deemed necessary. After discussions, the State Service for Food Safety of Armenia imposed a ban on all Chinese animal products. Armenia also closed its border with Iran.[117][118]

Bangladesh[edit source | edit]

Enhanced screening measures have been set up at all international airports in Bangladesh.[119] The Ministry of Health of Bangladesh is monitoring all airports, land ports and maritime ports.[120] 312 Bangladeshis returned from Wuhan in a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines on 1 February 2020 and they were quarantined for 14 days at Ashkona Hajj Camp near Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.[121] Two more China returnees were quarantined in Dhaka and Rangpur due to illness, although they did not show any coronavirus symptom.[122] Government of Bangladesh has installed isolation units in several large state-run hospitals in Dhaka, but healthcare system remains inadequately prepared to cope with the potential outbreak.[123]

Bhutan[edit source | edit]

The Ministry of Health of Bhutan strengthened screening at the country's points of entry as a response to the outbreak. Infrared fever scanning and respiratory health surveillance were introduced at Paro International Airport on 15 January. All medical facilities in the country were told to increase their vigilance for possible cases and to coordinate with the Royal Centre for Disease Control.[124]

Brunei[edit source | edit]

The government of Brunei has banned the entry of travellers from China's Hubei province with all travellers returning from China have been ordered to undergo self-isolation for 14 days. The country Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health also sets up four temporary shelters as quarantine zones to prepared for any incurring positive coronavirus cases.[125]

Cyprus[edit source | edit]

On 28 February 2020, Cyprus decided to close four checkpoints on the divided island for a week starting 29 February — the first closure since crossings between the two sides were eased in 2003 after decades of disputes. The United Nations peacekeeping force on the island, UNFICYP were informed of the decision.[126]

Kazakhstan[edit source | edit]

On 24 January, Almaty Airport staff and Almaty medical brigades had a medical exercise. The situation where a plane arrives from China with an infected passenger was simulated.[127] Also, disinformation was spreading through messengers about infected people in Almaty. It was disproved by the Minister of Healthcare.[128]

As of 25 January,[needs update] 98 Kazakh students were in Wuhan, but none were known to be infected.[129]

As of 28 January, more than 1300 Kazakh citizens are in China, more than 600 of them are tourists, mostly visiting Hainan. The government of Kazakhstan is ready to evacuate the 98 Kazakh students in Wuhan. Also, Kazakhstan plans[needs update] to temporarily stop trains between Ürümqi, Xinjiang, China and Kazakh cities.[130]

Myanmar[edit source | edit]

On 2 February 2020, 59 out of 63 Myanmar students studying in Wuhan arrived in Mandalay by air.[131]

Syria[edit source | edit]

Due to Syria already coped with the rampant Syrian civil war, fear that Syria will be the most affected country is raising concerns, following a number of cases found in neighboring Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, and completely collapsed healthcare system as for the result of civil war.[132] The Government of Iraqi Kurdistan, in a rare collaboration with its Syrian counterpart, ordered complete closure of Syrian–Iraqi border to halt the spread.[133]

Turkey[edit source | edit]

By 25 February 2020, Turkey has halted incoming flights from China and Iran and also closed its border with Iran.[134][135] Turkey's health minister has[when?] said 34 Turkish citizens and several others will be airlifted from Wuhan. The others include seven Azeris, seven Georgians and one Albanian. He also said that Turkey is now producing 150 million masks per month.[136] Starting with the European hub, Istanbul Airport, installed[when?] cameras at all airports and began scanning passengers travelling from China.[137]

West Bank[edit source | edit]

On 23 February, Palestinian Authority prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh ordered the closure of institutions and restaurants visited by a group of Korean tourists diagnosed with the virus.[138]

Yemen[edit source | edit]

Yemen has already been affected due to the civil war that destroyed much of the country's infrastructures and exarcebated by the famine and cholera outbreak. The fear of coronavirus spreading to Yemen has also been reviewed as a serious threat to already crippled healthcare system of the country and aids being unable to reach the country.[139] The city of Aden in the south has begun to build quarantine facility, though protests are hindering their efforts.[140]

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