Coronavirus check-in thread January 31, 2020 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Catch-all thread for mefites living in the virus in Asia or directly affected. No idle speculation or “it hasn’t come here yet but I think...” chat, but actual news, updates and more from people dealing with the virus affecting daily life.
posted by dorothyisunderwood to MetaFilter-Related at 7:01 AM (79 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

Mod note: Comment and reply deleted. This absolutely does not need to start with some kind of gotcha about geography, let's try and approach this with the base level of kindness intended.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 AM on January 31, 2020 [22 favorites]

I think this qualifies? The repatriated Britons are being quarantined at the hospital residences a couple of miles from my house. I mostly find this no more worrying than the existence of this virus in general, but there is so much loathing of the current government locally, that lots of my fellow Wirralians are taking the selection of Arrowe Park very personally, and I am worried this could get ugly. The hospital staff who were living in the hospital residences got turfed out with 12 hours’ notice. There have been threats to walk out. Arrowe Park is pretty underfunded and understaffed already, and while allegedly the people in quarantine won’t be cared for in the hospital itself if they become ill — they’ll be transferred to Liverpool’s infectious diseases unit — there was no consultation with the staff prior to the announcement, and a lot of them are scared and furious.
posted by skybluepink at 9:06 AM on January 31, 2020 [11 favorites]

thank you for making this thread! so much of the discussion on metafilter, other online spaces, etc has seemed so...western-centric and detached (in the sense that the people dominating those discussions seem to be having speculative academic armchair discussions with some amount of othering, and don't seem to actually be living / directly affected by the situation) and it's felt sort of alienating.

grateful for this space.
posted by aielen at 10:12 AM on January 31, 2020 [9 favorites]

Just want to say hang in there to everyone impacted in China!
posted by schwinggg! at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2020

I do some volunteer work in Toronto, a city with a large Chinese population and one that is edgy since the 43 Canadian deaths from SARS in 2003. There are a lot more people than you'd expect walking around wearing surgical masks. Of course, some are cargo cult types and are wearing disposable dust masks. Sure.

My recollection from seventeen years ago is that the summer of 2003 marked the beginning of hand sanitizer dispensing stations turning up in many public places. I wonder what 2020 will shift in the public consciousness?

(I realize this may be beyond the ambit of the post, so mods -- feel free to delete as appropriate.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

skybluepink: I grew up in West Kirby, not far from Arrowe Park, and I was worried this might happen. I hope everyone stays safe there, there's a lot of fear and anger.
posted by adrianhon at 12:40 PM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thanks, adrianhon. There’s quite a bit of dark muttering about how relatively easy it would be to quarantine our entire tiny peninsula, and how this is payback for the Wirral’s strong rejection of the Tories in the election, but they literally just arrived, and I think most of us are just crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.
posted by skybluepink at 2:02 PM on January 31, 2020 [2 favorites]

We relocated to Singapore this week! Masks are sold out everywhere and the queues at the odd chemist that had them are massive. At the moment, Singapore only has ten cases, but you can feel the impact from the prior SARS epidemic.

My kids had to get their temperature tested before they were allowed in a play centre at the mall yesterday. Tbh, I wish that was done all the time!

Something that's is super disappointing is the amount of racism in seeing both here and on my native Australia, towards Chinese people. It's disgusting.
posted by smoke at 3:11 PM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]

The Confucius Institute here at my university (in Ohio) had to cancel their New Year's Celebration/cultural event, because people in the community refused to come and interact with the teachers from China.

They are from Kaifeng, in Henan. Wuhan is almost 330 miles away, and the Chinese teachers have been here since August - they stayed in the US over winter break.

Makes me want to tear out my hair.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:12 PM on January 31, 2020 [23 favorites]

I just had another conversation reassuring someone close about the virus, that we are not all going to die by next week. They closed down a mall I think just for disinfecting.

Singaporeans have a complicated relationship with mainland Chinese (and HongKongers!) in that we are majority Chinese, but also Nanyang-Chinese and the PRC-Chinese who live and work here have several specific visa/social groups and perceived political status over other migrants due to ethnic and national ties.

I’m on mild house arrest about getting infected because I’ve had pneumonia so many times already and while I can be a hermit, my kids are out and about. One works at a hotel where a guest with the virus stayed and another has just gotten a short term job as a temperature screener. His girlfriend’s family has pulled out of public transport and she is only allowed to leave the house if she takes cabs or cars and reports back where she is.

Everyone over 30 remembers SARS and how empty everywhere got, and how scary it was because healthy people were getting it. We’re prepared but no-one is really quite ready for it because at least with the haze you could get up and go somewhere or stay indoors. With this - where do you go for a global pandemic?

The rumour mill here is wild, and we are sold out of everything associated - masks, hand sanitizer and thermometers. I’ve put up posters on correct hand washing that I printed out at our home sinks and gone over and over when is the right time to wear a mask (when you’re actually sick or asked to like a hospital) and when not to - everywhere else, but there’s a lot going around on social media. It doesn’t help that our media is famously polite and careful and we just had a huge fake news law introduced, so no-one is feeling a lot of trust and the Wuhan initial cover-up isn’t helping either.

Now I have to organise how to get my kid to swimming class - parents are being banned from the school because of crowds or something. While the official guideline is that crowds are fine.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:56 PM on January 31, 2020 [10 favorites]

er smoke.. Singapore has 16 cases at the time i'm typing this D:

re the fake news law - i think some people were joking that this is the first time POFMA came in useful / was applied in a way that made sense.

the masks guideline doesn't quite make sense if you consider asymptomatic transmission (which the Chinese experts have been insisting on for a long time, which the majority of Western authorities refused to believe until some other white/Western researchers concurred).
i think currently Singapore's stance on the asymptomatic transmission aspect is that it is possible but "low-risk" / low-probability. (skeptics are saying that maybe they are saying that because there's a shortage of masks and they are only able to distribute 4 masks per household.)

4 masks is better than none though. my household still hasn't been able to get any masks from commercial outlets (watsons, guardians, unity, ntuc etc... all out of stock). i think for the most part, the government has been (quietly) responsive to the people's complaints as the situation has developed so far... which is pretty singaporean, heh (both the complaining and the way the government has responded to the complaints).

i also caught an infection at the airport (the same day a confirmed case was there, i guess). was kinda unusual. but feels weird typing about it on metafilter.
posted by aielen at 9:42 PM on January 31, 2020 [4 favorites]

One thing I find very difficult about the reporting in the US is that it's phrased as "othering" those people who aren't us; as if it's somehow their fault for being .... I don't know..... unclean? ( literally or figuratively?)

And the media have very little to say about real worthwhile information because it's not sensational.
posted by mightshould at 3:09 AM on February 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

In Jakarta we’ve had all non-essential business trips cancelled. Even though we have no reported cases masks and disinfectant are selling out already. I was supposed to go to Hong Kong this weekend, but I’ve cancelled since the city is more or less shut down. Anti-Chinese sentiment is on the rise again here, but that’s always bubbling away below the surface.
posted by frumiousb at 5:13 AM on February 1, 2020

Here in Hong Kong, the response of the government has been disappointing, to put it mildly.

The clear answer has always been to close the border to Mainland arrivals and at least pretend to be organising the distribution of masks, but closing the border is politically impossible, especially after the past six months, and the mask supply seems to depend on China's (closed/holiday-affected) factories. Almost more than the protests, this crisis has made the absence of a government fully accountable to the people even more outrageous - everyone is furious that the government is mishandling things, even pro-Beijing parties and politicians.

People simply aren't going out as much and restaurants and bars are nearly entirely empty. My supermarkets look picked over and while this isn't my question over on AskMe, I wonder if it's one of my neighbours.

Over 3000 hospital staff are going on strike on Monday to force the government's hand, starting with non-essential staff and ramping up to essential medical staff through the week. We'll see - whether they'll be listened to will be a function of how much the government sees them as credible representatives of the medical professions, given their anti-ELAB roots. I'm...not optimistic.

That said, I'm trying my best to live my life as best I can. I'm not wearing a mask because there simply aren't any and all the news about where they are never makes it into English before the masks are gone; I'm washing my hands a lot with nice soap I bought. I'm going to brunch on Sunday and then to a Super Bowl breakfast and then to physiotherapy on Monday. I got a new Hario drip coffee set because I'm not going out for coffee anymore and I'm excited to play with it. I'm working on my Master's (happily online!) and working from home and trying to make sure I don't refresh RTHK and SCMP every three minutes.

I don't have plans to leave and I don't think I could afford to just leave my job and home. Overally, it's terrifying in a hard-to-describe low-key sense. I know intellectually that the likelihood of me being infected is low, and that the risk of my dying if I am infected even lower. But it's a different kind of fear from the protests - when people were being shot outside my house and clouds of tear gas floated down my road - because you don't know that it'll all be over at 5 in the morning.

I said in the venting thread a few below this that this city deserves a break, and I'd love for that break to come sooner rather than later.
posted by mdonley at 6:22 AM on February 1, 2020 [15 favorites]

mdonley - i've been getting chinese-language FB posts about masks being sold by private/smaller sellers within HK (from HK friends); not sure how helpful/useful it will be ultimately (they sell out so fast, even through these social media sellers) but i'll let you know if i see anything.

just remembered - a thermometer is also useful to have on hand (kinda awful being in a situation of feeling sick and thinking maybe it's a fever but not being sure because there is no thermometer in the house; also useful for preliminary teleconsults with doctors to avoid hospitals/clinics).
posted by aielen at 7:20 AM on February 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

aielen - Thanks for the offer! We've got some masks at the office (where I haven't been yet) and happily I have a thermometer. My Chinese-speaking friends have also been very helpful in parsing news that hasn't made it to English yet. And as you said above, I also can't really deal with non-local media reporting on what to them is Just Another Scary Virus From Asia. I'm not a huge fan of the South China Morning Post but between them, RTHK and Hong Kong Free Press I've got a good handle on what's going on here.
posted by mdonley at 7:38 AM on February 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thanks for this post. I was thinking of making one over new year's, but I wasn't sure how it would affect the holiday or what to put on it for that matter.

Also, is there any place on the internet to provide some kind of help to those in Hubei? I read news articles that some Chinese-American and Chinese diaspora communities gathered masks and other supplies to send to Wuhan, but I haven't been able to find any place online to donate masks or better yet, money, since all the masks are being bought up in stores.
posted by FJT at 10:49 AM on February 1, 2020

Mod note: One comment deleted. Quick nudge here, the thread is explicitly for folks living in the countries where there are major disruptions of normal life right now, so let’s take care not to end up focusing on events in US even if they’re related. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:20 PM on February 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Australia's just put in a travel ban for anyone who isn't a citizen, permanent resident, or air crew (or familiss thereof) who have been through mainland China recently

International students are already being turned away. Temporary workers, bridging visas, tourists, refugees - no longer allowed in. People are being evacuated to Christmas Island.

Given how hostile Australia is increasingly being towards migrants, this sets a really, really worrying precedent.
posted by divabat at 9:09 PM on February 1, 2020 [8 favorites]

There haven't been any recorded cases in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand but nonetheless, masks have sold out and all the shop clerks are wearing them. The flight down to Bangkok yesterday, 100% of passengers masked. It makes sense on an airplane with recirculated air and at the airports but I tell you, trying to walk around wearing one leaves me gasping for breath.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:54 PM on February 1, 2020

Singapore residents - not sure if you already know but there's a website that gives more information on the island-wide mask distribution/collection. You can type in your postal code to find out your specific mask collection timeslot and location. Distribution started yesterday and is supposed to end next Sunday. (If you don't collect your masks they just go back into the country's stockpile.)

Another useful link is WhiteCoat - a teleconsultation app. (full disclosure: I think my ex-classmate founded it.) It's really useful if you feel ill or sick-ish and don't want to go to the clinic/hospital in person (maybe you don't have a mask, or regular clinics aren't open, or you think you most likely don't have the virus but just want to be sure and don't want to go to a clinic in person if you're worried about catching something there etc...). Consultation fees are comparable to regular in-person clinic fees, and you can also get a free review/follow-up session with the doctor at a later date.

If you need medicine, the doctor is able to prescribe medicine that can be delivered to your address on the same day. They are also able to issue medical certificates (if needed).

(People living outside of Singapore can also use the app, but they won't be able to use the medication delivery service.)
posted by aielen at 1:14 AM on February 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

so far so good, here in KL, aside from the PRC-targeted racism just like Singapore, but also just a general Chinese-targeted racism by the usual bigots (which has been on the rise in the background amongst the Malays since the change of government), though tellingly the astroturfing and rampant socmed lies actually went down precipitously after a couple of arrests were made under one of the communications act, for sharing offensive content. I'm quite personally divided by this, but the intent behind those fake news was clearly to cause social harm.

over here, it's the frontliners and service staff who are mostly wearing masks, though that seems to be a personal choice, and i was in the city centre today and people seems fairly relaxed, though visibly there are no China tourist buses around. A lot of that has to be a real concerted effort by the health ministry officials to emphasise the risk factor remains low for the Malaysian public at large. I have to admit, I haven't been checking the shops, but that's mostly because i have spare masks anyway, from the haze, and also just in general because i always make a habit of wearing one when travelling by flights.

An ex-schoolmate got together with a few more data scientists and volunteers worldwide and started CoronaTracker which does realtime updates based on publicly available info such as health advisories and news reporting. Might be useful to have a snapshot of the global development.
posted by cendawanita at 7:04 AM on February 2, 2020 [7 favorites]

I am in Yiwu, we are about 3hrs by train from Wuhan in the next province over. Since the news we have been hunkered down in our apartment, anything we bring in gets a quick rinse with bleach.

The city is on semi-voluntary quarantine - people encouraged to stay home, very little traffic, local guards around advising and questioning people who are outside. Neighbourhoods are local traffic only with roadblocks.

Wife has been panicked a little but as we are a mixed nationality family there is nowhere we can realistically go as a unit right now. And for what, to be in expensive temporary accommodation, potentially quarantined? And travelling among potentially infected people, getting stressed out and tired and compromising our current safety? We are safe here in this apartment.

Not sure how long things will be like this, but everything I am seeing and hearing the Chinese government is taking this seriously and really trying to beat it. Hope these actions help get it over with sooner rather than later.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:51 AM on February 2, 2020 [17 favorites]

Does anyone have contact info for Wuhan US Consulate? I have Beijing Embassy virus email etc. Anyone have info for Xiaogan Chinese officials for permit to go overland by car to Wuhan? So grateful for this site.
posted by randomfan at 12:10 PM on February 2, 2020

Incredibly, and perhaps as a result of the aforementioned strike, Hong Kong has closed its land borders with China - including the MTR crossings of Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau, the most frequently used ones.

However, the government has left open one bridge to Shenzhen, the bridge to Zhuhai and Macau, and the airport will still accept flights from China. Will this be enough? Who knows anymore.
posted by mdonley at 2:30 AM on February 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

From photo guy on an ask.metafilter thread:

According to this site, State has also set up a dedicated inbox for US Citizens in Hubei needing assistance: Not sure if you already tried that option.
posted by blob at 6:26 AM on February 3, 2020

HK update:

- I misspoke about which border crossings were most commonly used earlier - the most frequently used border crossings, the Shenzhen Bay Bridge and the airport, are still open. 60%+ of arrivals come through these (PDF). Sorry!

- The government is now telling people to conserve masks; government workers without a health reason for one won't necessarily have access to them at work anymore. There are still none around in the shops.

- The first few local transmissions have been confirmed. These people haven't been to the Mainland recently. This means widespread person-to-person transmission locally can't be ruled out as easily as in the past.

- The public health system remains under extreme strain (as usual, sadly...). The medical-worker strike continues.

- Macau has closed its casinos for at least two weeks. The casinos are the lifeblood of Macau's economy - it's one of the only legal places to gamble in East Asia - and tourism is by far the biggest industry. Macau is only about 1/10 the size of Hong Kong, but they've even gone as far as to essentially shut down all non-emergency government services.

This isn't going to be over here soon.
posted by mdonley at 3:05 AM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

after 2 days of what felt like good news (no new cases in the country/city), there are now 6 new cases today :s
& like HK we have local transmissions as well now (4 out of those 6 cases are local transmissions... classified as "limited community spread" atm)
and over the border in malaysia a local Selangor man contracted the virus from (apparently) a meeting in singapore (that took place ~2 weeks ago). meh i don't want to connect too many dots aloud.

on a more positive note there have been some good initiatives coming from regular citizens here - people with extra masks have been distributing them to neighbours, some people have been leaving free hand sanitizer in lifts/elevators and other public spaces etc.
posted by aielen at 3:56 AM on February 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

Yeah, i'm trying not to think about the fact that the Malaysian patient came back in time for CNY season, and now everyone's back in their respective work etc.
posted by cendawanita at 4:22 AM on February 4, 2020

India has a third confirmed case of Coronavirus, all from Kerala. The state has declared it a state disaster and is hopefully putting the mechanism used during the Nipah outbreak to good use. More are quarantined, specifically the folks brought back from Wuhan by a special flight. So far, no overt panic, though airports are full of people with masks.
Hoping this is contained quickly. For all the folks closer to the epicenter of the outbreak, my very best wishes.
posted by Nieshka at 7:22 AM on February 4, 2020

Indonesia is getting very nervous because at this point nobody believes we really have zero cases. I have quietly stocked up on cleaning supplies, masks are nowhere to be found. I'm about to give in and pay a silly amount of money for them on Lazada. I don't think the masks help, but if it starts to spread, there will be hostility if you don't wear a mask, I fear. I'm supposed to go on vacation in Singapre the end of this month, but it is unclear what the Indonesian government is going to do and if I will be able to get back in so I am following this closely.
posted by frumiousb at 5:27 PM on February 4, 2020 [4 favorites]

Hong Kong update:

The government is going to quarantine all Mainland arrivals from Saturday. I have no idea if Hong Kong residents coming home after the Chinese New Year holidays will be simply asked to self-quarantine at home or if they'll be sent...somewhere? (Where? How will we ensure they are still where they should be?)

Remember that in normal times, tens or hundreds of thousands of people enter and leave the city each day.

posted by mdonley at 4:15 AM on February 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Indonesia banned direct flights from mainland China on Wednesday and revoked entry for Chinese nationals. Between 3000-5000 Chinese tourists were already on Bali and for those that opt to stay, the government has extended their entry visa for another 30 days for free.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:52 AM on February 6, 2020

- yesterday and today: 4 more cases announced yesterday (including a 6 month old infant), 2 cases announced today. All but one are local transmissions. One of the new cases today is not linked to any other previous cases (meaning... it is not known how it was contracted, the person had not traveled recently nor been in any known contact with previous cases / hotspots).

- 2 South Koreans contracted the virus from the same Singapore conference the Malaysian man attended. 1 of the newer Singapore cases also attended that conference. That conference hosted something like 94 overseas participants from a variety of countries, the majority of whom have returned to their respective countries. WHO is investigating the conference... etc.

- India is screening travelers from Singapore. Within South Korea there is apparently a petition to ban travelers from Southeast Asia (understandable in the sense that some of their recent cases contracted the virus from Thailand and Singapore).

- I wish we had more masks :( Masks are like gold here or something. i know there's a shortage all over Asia. and i know there are places in China that definitely need them way more though. i have family members who are from an at-risk demographic (due to work, age, health conditions, etc). we still have a few masks left (gave the government-issued masks to a family member who was traveling internationally, don't regret doing that) but i've been looking online for masks for the past few weeks and they're either super super expensive (like $100+ for a small box?) or out of stock. and there are masks on lazada etc but honestly there are so many fake sellers there (i.e. masks of very very dubious quality, some even pre-used). and the local legit sources (like drugstore chains - watsons, guardian etc) are all sold out when i go in person. and then there's the deceptive advertising from even big names like daiso - they were running this huge widely-advertised sale on masks - that were dust/pollen masks, and not surgical/medical masks. and i have been looking up DIY mask tutorials online but... tbh most are dangerous (stapling paper towels / sewing cloth masks.. and saying they are legit for dealing with the virus?) and some are just sad (using CNY red packets to make masks..).
ok that was my small rant; most of the time i am quite calm about this stuff.

- this is an interesting interview with a Wuhan doctor who talks about his experience treating the patients and the typical progression of the illness (it's been translated and reproduced by a bunch of different news outlets; i like this translation)

- Singapore residents - there's a regularly-updated map of places where people have come into contact with the virus. not sure about the exact frequency of updates or how practical it is* but just in case you find it personally useful i guess.
*ok honestly at this point we all know that places not noted by the map are not guaranteed to be virus-free, and there are cases that have yet to be identified etc. and usually the people that are near to contacts/places where transmission took place are notified or aware of it ahead of the official announcements anyway.
posted by aielen at 7:55 AM on February 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Some sad news that Doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistleblowers who tried to warn about the coronavirus and was initially punished for it, has died to the disease.
posted by bluecore at 7:59 AM on February 6, 2020

friend's relative has the virus (between point of contraction/transmission & confirmation, went to CNY gatherings and did CNY things). traceable to the Hyatt cluster.

apparently that same Hyatt conference (that accounted for the recent South Korean and Malaysian cases) also accounts for the most recent UK case.

singapore is a very very small city.
posted by aielen at 5:47 PM on February 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm 99.9% sure I don't have the virus because my points of contact are so tenuous, but I have a mild fever now and am going well, what are you supposed to do? At what point do you go to the doctor vs stay at home, and what about all the other people in your household? Do you tell them to stay home just in case and then when it turns out to be just strep throat again, then what the hell. I kept my smallest home from school because she was sick earlier in the week, but I am not enjoying the uncertainty over what to do.

I don't think the masks are that helpful if you're not sick and I think refusing to release stock is a good move. I wish they'd bring lots and lots of sanitiser in. Everything vaguely labelled 'anti-bacterial' is out of stock which is daft as it's a virus, and regular soap properly washed does the job just as well for viruses.

The map seems like - effort for effort's sake. Either you only risk getting it from close contact and contact tracing is enough, or you're getting it from even accidental contact in which case, the exposure is so wide you'd have to go to like, Pulau Tekong to avoid it.

There's a cute coronavirus comic available for free (enter 0 for the price to download) by weimonkowart, that summarises the current advice. The Chinese version is up now too.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:58 PM on February 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

Here in Hong Kong today the effect of the government's, uh, ambitious plan to use civil servants as 'volunteer' quarantine monitors is just making people angrier. The healthcare workers on strike are still furious. I don't know where we go politically after this. Also, some Hong Kong folks on the boat off Yokohama have said their experience is actually preferable to being in the 'mess' that is this city.

I FaceTimed my dad for a while today and it was good to talk to family people far away - hearing their concern and reassuring them that despite the fact that someone who contracted the disease had been staying only a few blocks from my house (map) I was OK was a good way to start the day.

I fully worked from home for today - I'd been going in and connecting with people a bit just to see folks - and it was productive but very boring. I forgot to shower until four this afternoon and have had way too much coffee. I'm going to a (usually) quiet bar with some people later - hopefully it's not too busy! "Out in HK" LGBTQ+ coffee gathering on Sunday morning on Kowloon side also a good opportunity to connect with people.

I was forwarded this (PDF) mental-health-during-Coronavirus guide from Mind HK. Great summary of advice and some tips I hadn't thought of (like writing to old friends and silencing notifications from your phone). Chinese version on this page.
posted by mdonley at 1:38 AM on February 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

- in Singapore, 3 new random cases (i.e. no travel history to China, no link to any previous cases) announced. Including a junior college teacher (VJC).

- and in some more details that were released about the first untraceable case - he apparently went for a lohei CNY lunch with about 20 colleagues while feeling ill. ...Lohei seems like such a good way to spread an illness D: (gathering in a tight circle and shouting proverbs at each other while tossing raw vegetables + raw fish high and haphazardly in the air and then all eating from that communal tossed salad...)

- the WhatsApp aunties' rumours came true: DORSCON alert level has been raised to orange. (that's the same level it was during SARS).
there was a lot of mass-buying at supermarkets earlier today (and yesterday) because of rumours that a new DORSCON alert level would be announced later; i thought it was just another WhatsApp rumour. canned food, cleaning supplies sold out in some supermarkets etc. but there was indeed a press conference later in the day and the new DORSCON was announced so errr good job WhatsApp auntie grapevine i guess.

- thinking about what mdonley wrote. Singapore has also needed more people to help with public healthcare measures but so far they've been doing this by creating more paid temp jobs (e.g. $13/hr as a temperature screener). Frontline healthcare workers have had their leave requests rejected for this period though - basically they're not allowed to take leave at the moment because of the preparations/logistics in place (carefully planned team rotations, based on the country's experience with SARS). I have healthcare worker friends who did not go visiting at all during CNY* or postponed major life plans because of this. But I think people generally understand these measures are necessary during this period.

I remember SARS - and HK seemed so much more united and cohesive in their efforts during SARS. SG and HK have had a lot in common in terms of history, and it's sad to hear about the mood and tensions on the ground in HK. Hope everyone in HK can come together and pull through this together again.

*to minimize possible contact with any form of sickness; if one healthcare worker is compromised or presents with any type of fever/sickness, then the whole team is also compromised.
posted by aielen at 4:21 AM on February 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hey aielen I have some spare packs of masks at home (back from when I was helping care for someone immune-compromised), and I know a relative who has bought like 300 masks or something. If you like you could get a pack from me.

Agreed with needing more sanitizer; especially with young children who are going to be picking up some trash one second and digging their nose the next. I had this brilliant plan to DIY my own sanitizer by buying a big tub of isopropoyl alcohol from an industrial supplier (it's also used as a solvent), but the supplier seems to be backordered till the end of February. Clearly I'm not to only one who thought of doing that.

Anyway, some positive news:
Why the New Coronavirus (Mostly) Spares Children

"...based on currently available information, it appears likely that the novel coronavirus is more a “bad case of seasonal flu” in terms of its mortality rate rather than a SARS or MERS"
posted by destrius at 7:41 AM on February 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

International students are already being turned away.
I’m involved in managing some of the fallout from this. While it’s only students that have been in mainland china in the last 14 days that are affected, the Chinese overseas student market is a massive component of Australia’s export education market overall. That market is Australia’s third largest export overall. If you had to pick the worst possible time for something like this to happen, it would be now - just prior to the start of a new academic year and right around Chinese New Year. Everyone involved is scrambling to minimise the impact, but this will be felt by the education sector for a long time, coming on the back of ongoing safety fears from bushfires.

I realised the other day that I’d become so immersed in the data and possible solutions to the problem when I found out that one of my staff was in China and had no idea when they could get back. Fortunately, they managed to grab a flight earlier than expected and are now in self-isolation and working from home. It’s easy to forget the human aspect of things like this when your only view of the situation is through a screen.
posted by dg at 2:15 PM on February 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

We've hired a great guy from Zhuhai but we've just been told that work visas for anyone from the greater China area "will be taking considerably longer". I think as it stands now my vacation in Singapore will be cancelled and I'll hope travel insurance will pick up part of the cost.

It appears that the government is relying on lung screening rather than viral tests for determining who is infected, which is... not reassuring. There are mucus tests, but they are all in Jakarta, and apparently many regional areas are not bothering if the patient does not appear sick.

There's an article here about the concerns.
posted by frumiousb at 6:00 PM on February 7, 2020

destrius, it's so kind of you to offer. really touched by your generosity. i'm really grateful but i also wouldn't want to impinge on your own supplies (esp knowing you have your own family to take care of). (i don't know... i will msg you if i really can't find anymore online. thank you so much for offering.)
posted by aielen at 10:27 AM on February 8, 2020

Hong Kong update:

- Hotels are saying they have no way to know if their guests are under quarantine orders.

- The multi-month Hong Kong Arts Festival, the cultural highlight of the year with 120 performances from globally-significant acts, has been cancelled in its entirety. So has Art Basel.

- Protestors across the city continue to insist that quarantining not take place in their areas.

Other than the headlines, life somehow is going on. A friend is planning a visit for after the summer (great!) but another friend has cancelled their planned spring visit (which I totally understand but am still sad about). I'm trying to remember to shower.

I haven't had someone sit next to me on train for a week now (a rare luxury!), and working from home is continuing. Went to watch the Everton/Crystal Palace football match and Wales/Ireland rugby match on Saturday night and it was great to see at least a few people out and have a beer and just chat for a while about people's lives and studies and families and not think about dying for a few hours.

Not that I'm thinking about dying; it's just that judging from the masked:not masked ratio of people on the street, everyone else here seems utterly convinced that breathing in air I've exhaled will kill them instantly. It's disconcerting and isolating. I don't even want to wear a mask - it's ineffective and I'm not symptomatic - but not wearing one feels like a social taboo that I have no choice but to break (and there aren't any masks anyway!).

Also, I've had a few friends tell me they're finding it challenging to have both themselves and their partner at home, with their kids, all trying to complete assignments from teachers and bosses - and then not have a commute to help them decompress at the end of the day, or feel comfortable leaving the house for even a meal out.

Those who are teachers have the double burden of trying to work from home but also then needing to teach online/via Google Office or whatever their school uses - and then have time 'after' school to mark! It feels like this can't go on much longer - and yet it will, in all likelihood, go on for weeks.
posted by mdonley at 12:38 AM on February 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

14,000 new cases overnight. Here we go.
posted by frumiousb at 4:43 PM on February 12, 2020

It’s a change in diagnostic criteria that’s caused the surge. These are clinical diagnoses, because they don’t have enough testing kits. That means regular flu folded into the stats as well. So it’s bad, but not a change in the actual outbreak. This could lower the death rate percentage in a way.

I’ve asked my siblings abroad to post us masks. Everything else we can get but masks are still hard. I have some n95 ones from the haze but I’m still isolating myself. My friends at offices are moving to split shifts.

I’m at my son’s graduation today and the hall is half empty - last ceremony it was totally packed.

People are basically assuming it will spread but in a way, post-SARS, the death rate is lower and we have done this before. It’s also not hitting kids hard which is a huge relief.

I’m planning to write a note today to my neighbours on my floor to invite them into a WhatsApp group for any errands, quarantine stuff. We say hi and when an ambulance came to us last year, one of them offered to look after my kids but we are just acquaintances. Still, I think neighbours will matter a lot if anyone gets locked down. People are a LOT friendlier this past week - I think it’s a human need to make sure the social network is there.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:52 PM on February 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

International students are already being turned away.

We've been asked/told we need to prepare to teach at least the first month's material for the semester that starts in two weeks as online classes, so that our China-based students can still participate. I'm really glad that the university is putting in place this kind of option so the students aren't disadvantaged, but to convert a class to online with only a few weeks notice is kind of insane. And as far as I'm aware there is no extra resourcing to assist people to do so.
posted by lollusc at 10:58 PM on February 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've seen a few people wearing masks here on Bali (Ubud) but only a handful. Nevertheless, masks are sold out at all the pharmacies. I was told by a driver last month that Chinese tourists were being driven around to buy supplies to take back home. So it was a surprise to go to the big Delta Dewata yesterday and find a large supply of the basic ones (but in pretty patterns!) in the hair accessories section and for a reasonable price.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:53 PM on February 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

An exhausted update from Hong Kong:

- The hoarding and panic buying continues. It's extremely depressing. There's no toilet paper in the shops and I am considering buying some from Amazon, except that the postal system is overwhelmed with the amount of online ordering happening and with the shorter hours it's given itself and with fewer flights than ever before, packages keep being delayed.

- The economic fallout is probably going to be far wider than anything I worried it might be. It's not just tourists not coming; more affluent locals with the means and documents to leave are doing so, or at least sending their families away. The challenge, then, is what the businesses that serve those people do. We rely on global connections for our economy in a way few other places do - with only a bit over 7 million people, we get over 60 million visitors a year.

- People remain furious at the ineptitude of the government to handle the crisis. Without real accountability to elections, the administration seems to lack the leadership needed to manage the crisis and (probably relatedly? who knows) Beijing has replaced some of its own higher-ups. Whatever was going to happen in the LegCo elections later this year seems like it's definitely going to be affected by this.

- I haven't seen my students in a month and probably won't for another few weeks. The weather is rainy and cold. I'm trying to get out and be social but it's a challenge and there's always that voice in the back of your head screaming at you not to touch your face or a door knob or a handrail or any surfaces.

- Ugh.
posted by mdonley at 2:48 AM on February 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Hey guys, this is sort of more an "askmefi" but I am posting here instead because it is directly related to my current status in quarantined Yiwu China, and because people following this thread maybe have specific info related to this issue...

So in terms of update, really nothing has changed here. People are still stuck in apartments, and inter-city travel within China needs special permission. 14 day quarantine if you stay overnight outside your home city.

So as always it seems, my family situation is complicated and problematic. I just started typing it out and realised it is a long and boring story, but the TLDR is "fucking Chinese and Tajik officials" and with the quarantine / travel issue it just makes it an order of magnitude more problematic to work everything out.

So here is my question / request: is there some easy way online to see current international airline travel status into / out of China?

I need to quite quickly get a "Plan B" for wife and son to leave here and get to Dushanbe. At the moment direct flights are blocked, and I need to figure out how I can get them there.

Many thanks in advance anyone who can point to relevant info.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:14 AM on February 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Meatbomb, I'm not seeing live updates so much as post-facto service updates since the situation is so fluid. I'm sure you're seeing something similar. AirlineRoute posts cancellations but not what's running.

The easiest thing (and it is wild that this is the easiest, I think, and presuming you can fly domestically from Yiwu and are allowed to enter Shenzhen airport arrivals area) is to do a domestic flight to Shenzhen from Yiwu (China Southern 3875, three times a week Monday/Friday/Sunday, departs 7:50 am and lands 9:55 am) and then the Skypier ferry connection direct to Hong Kong airport departures, which does not involve going through HK immigration or technically entering HK. Then I would fly to Dushanbe via Istanbul on Turkish or via Moscow on Aeroflot, both of which are still operating here, because Tajiks don't need a visa for Turkey or Russia if you're questioned about this, and because there are probably more flights from Dushanbe to Istanbul and Moscow than anywhere else.

To make this work, you check in at the ferry pier at Shenzhen airport (lots of airlines do this including Turkish). The process is this - I pasted it from the HK airport website because I don't know what you can access there:

- "Passengers arriving at Shenzhen International Airport proceed to the Ground Transportation Centre and take a free shuttle bus to Shenzhen Fuyong Pier

- Upon arrival at Shenzhen Fuyong Pier, purchase a ferry ticket and register for the ferry (passengers can check in their baggage and obtain boarding pass if their airline provides the service)

- Go through CIQ clearance at Shenzhen Fuyong Pier and board the ferry to SkyPier at HKIA

- Upon arrival at SkyPier, reclaim baggage and check in with your airlines (passengers who have completed check-in procedures at Shenzhen Fuyong Pier can proceed directly to the security checkpoint at SkyPier)

- After passing the security checkpoint, board the Automated People Mover to reach the HKIA boarding gates"

Also, as I'm sure you know, Tajiks don't need an visa or can get an e-visa or a visa on arrival for these places. Russia, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore all strike me as nearish-to-China places to try to get to first before flying onward to Dushanbe.

A few non-stop options I have seen to visa-free places for Tajiks from Shanghai (can you get there?) according to the map:

- Macau on Air Macau for around RMB 3500
- Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia/Malaysia Airlines for around RMB 2500
- Singapore on Singapore Airlines for around RMB 3100

I also found a Shanghai to Dushanbe flight via Incheon (airside transfer - not sure if Tajiks need a visa?) and Almaty (a VERY long transit in Almaty, though, over 35 hours) for 6500 RMB on Asiana/Astana. That came up on CTrip. However, CTrip also says that travellers entering Tajikistan at Dushanbe Airport who have been in China will be 'taken to hospital for health check and quarantine'. !

Good luck. MeMail me if you need anything.
posted by mdonley at 4:49 AM on February 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

Corona-19 romance!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:33 AM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Holy shit mdonley you are a star! Because my Tajik wife needs an advance HK visa I never would have even considered this, but really you have given me a detailed and very easy solution that totally makes sense and seems to work. I owe you multiple beers some day soon! Thank you again!
posted by Meatbomb at 5:36 AM on February 18, 2020 [10 favorites]

(Meatbomb, you've given me solid advice for 15 years; you answered my first-ever question on AskMe and even correctly identified my CELTA tutor months before I met her. Looking up some flights is the least I can do. <3)

I forgot to mention that I think it's probably worth calling the CKS Ferry people who run the service to check that they're still running on the day you want to go - the number is +852 2859 1669. Their online booking service looks like there are only two ferries a day - 11:30 and 18:30.
posted by mdonley at 7:16 AM on February 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Tajiks don't need an visa or can get an e-visa or a visa on arrival for these places. Russia, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore all strike me as nearish-to-China places to try to get to first before flying onward to Dushanbe.

- Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia/Malaysia Airlines for around RMB 2500
- Singapore on Singapore Airlines for around RMB 3100

i'm so sorry to possibly be the bearer of some bad news but the wikipedia link on visa-free entry doesn't currently apply to Malaysia and Singapore (don't know about Macau).

Malaysia has banned visitors from Zhejiang province (basically those who have been in Zhejiang during the last 14 days are not allowed to enter Malaysia). The ban took place slightly over a week ago and is still ongoing.

Singapore has banned visitors from mainland China (that are not permanent residents or long term visit pass holders) - doesn't matter if they do not hold a Chinese passport; criteria seems to be the travel history. (more detailed PDF from the Singapore government's immigration authority; relevant information starting from page 2.) The ban took place about 3 weeks ago and is still ongoing.

For both countries I think you could technically enter eventually (with a Tajik passport, not China passport) if your travel history is clear of China over the most recent 14 days. But it doesn't sound like that would fit into the plan outlined by mdonley (since it would involve waiting around in yet another intermediary country for 2 weeks).
posted by aielen at 9:32 AM on February 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

i was putting together a longer comment of updates but thought i should post this out of time-sensitivity:

- Meatbomb, i was just talking to my friend in China (Beijing) who has also been trying to get out (unsuccessfully), he says it's very important to call the airlines directly and keep checking on flight status that way (through direct calls, not websites), because the flights keep getting cancelled (he has been learning the hard way). Really hope your family members can make the journey, and that it goes smoothly.

- Singapore residents, if anyone is interested in ordering/buying reusable KF94 / N95 masks (5 layer filter system incl activated carbon layer, nonwoven filter layer, etc + valve, adjustable straps, individually packaged and sealed, made in Korea, each mask lasts for 1-2 months), I might be putting in a bulk order soon. (Not sure how long stocks will last but for now there is stock.) PM for more details if interested. (price is about half the regular online price.)
posted by aielen at 9:22 PM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

... to convert a class to online with only a few weeks notice is kind of insane. And as far as I'm aware there is no extra resourcing to assist people to do so.
Yeah, it's a big call for courses that don't already have some on-line component (where you could front-load that component and hope the crisis passes before you run out of content) and even more so for the surprising number of providers that don't have any on-line platform set up at all.
posted by dg at 4:54 PM on February 21, 2020

I hadn't been posting here because my family in Seoul had hardly been impacted at first. It was just precautionary measures, like wearing face masks while riding the subway and skipping weekday bible study and canceling optional volunteer events in high-tourist districts like Myeongdong.

In the last few days, though, South Korea's coronavirus cases have skyrocketed after several group infections in Daegu, most via a church (cult really). My spouse's family are all from Daegu and environs.

Now my parents are telling me that they are skipping Sunday services this week (at their mainline Protestant church that has no connection to the Daegu church). They are frightened. I can't really comfort them, except to agree to their demand that I not come visit them this year.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:09 AM on February 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it's OK to contribute here from Italy, as it's not-Asia, but now the country with the most confirmed Covid-19 infections this side of the globe?

The subtle shock at hearing about local lock-downs imposed on 11 provincial towns near Milan (including potential fines for entering/exiting the area, with police starting to organise checkpoints) and in Veneto, has made the virus everyone's principal topic of conversation since the news broke yesterday. A lot of people are trying to catch up with proper updates and information (for example: in case of symptoms, the instruction here is not to go to the dotor or the hospital, but instead to call the 112 emergency number), now that it's not just happening on the other side of the world.

Some family from Milan is cancelling train-travel plans to Rome: a couple of trains were stopped yesterday for passenger checks on board, and the feeling is there is likely to be an interruption of the main railway-artery between Milan and Rome in the coming days.

It's apparently proving elusive to track down the patient-zero of this most recent outbreak, so I'm not sure how folks are going to read the visual of this new poster that's gone up in the Chinatown neighborhood in Milan...

One piece of encouraging news: among the nearly 98% of cases that are not proving fatal are the three first cases of infections that had surfaced in Rome a couple of weeks ago (an elderly Chinese tourist couple, and an Italian evacuee from Wuhan) have all recovered almost to full health.

Versions of this "Amore e Psicosi" are making the rounds...
posted by progosk at 7:04 AM on February 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

progosk, you're fine - sadly it looks like the spread of the virus is going to affect more people. I'm going to guess that the Italian government is probably way better at honesty around this than the Chinese government was and the public health system in Europe is a lot more robust. Fingers crossed for you and yours.

In positive HK news:

- I found toilet paper today. My local supermarket was full of it - they'd moved out other displays and had pallets and pallets of it. Got my preferred brand and everything.

- Relatedly, much of the panic buying of the last few weeks seems to have abated.

In worrying HK news:

- I went to brunch today and the maître d' took my temperature using one of those laser thermometers. It read 32°C, which is 89.6°F. I'm guessing the measurement wasn't super accurate...

- We start online teaching a course I might teach this week. The technology will be a problem and we can't have classes as large as we usually would.

Hope everyone else is able to find necessities and is washing their hands.
posted by mdonley at 10:15 AM on February 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

So I guess the archbishop of Milan has been reading about Daegu and the troubling Shincheonji church/cult hotspot: all mass is now suspended.
posted by progosk at 11:18 PM on February 23, 2020

Malaysian politics went insane in the last 72 hours, but regardless it's been impressively handling the Covid-19 outbreak. So far we've been quite steady at 22 patients, and as of today, 20 of them have been declared recovered from the virus. Too bad we will have to say goodbye to the health minister due to larger political fuckery.
posted by cendawanita at 12:14 AM on February 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

A tiny and depressing update: Italy has said that anyone arriving from China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) has to undergo a 14-day home quarantine with monitoring from the local health authorities...which means I can’t feasibly go on my 10-day Sicilian driving tour at Easter now. I am so sad. ☹️
posted by mdonley at 1:16 AM on February 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

aw man that sucks, mi dispiace davvero. This stuff is seriously remapping things at so many levels...
posted by progosk at 1:33 AM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

(I would not suggest travelling indirectly to bypass this kind of regulation, as this seems to have been what was behind the Qom outbreak...)
posted by progosk at 1:39 AM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Indonesian Health Ministry which is adamant that there are no cases of Corvid-19 in the country has declared that the Japanese tourist who was here on Bali in mid-February and hospitalized on his return to Japan, testing positive, actually has SARS which is "70% different".
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:33 AM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

so, given that the patients-zero for the first two local Italian cases (in Lombardy and Veneto) continue to prove elusive, a potential explanation for that is being mentioned by several local epidemiologists: perhaps the virus has been present since January, and just gone unnoticed, due to its relative "mildness" in most cases, and to a lack of pro-active testing before last week's emergence of the Codogno and Vo' Euganeo cases.
posted by progosk at 5:45 AM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Australia has figured out a way to externalize the costs of quarantine by paying students from China who are out of the country (and are banned from returning directly to Australia from China) to travel to a third country before returning to Australia. Australian university offers Chinese students $1,400 to return via third country
posted by Umami Dearest at 8:54 PM on February 24, 2020

"paying students from China who are out of the country ... to travel to a third country before returning to Australia. " -- Umami Dearest
A cow-orker who just returned from Singapore told me that students were already bouncing through a third country, but only staying a day and lying about their real country of origin.

I used to work at an Australian educational institution that specialized in international students. I'm sure it's changed since was there, but not anywhere near enough to cope with this. Most of all, the idea that a semester's classes can suddenly be effectively delivered remotely is laughable.
posted by krisjohn at 9:34 PM on February 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Most of all, the idea that a semester's classes can suddenly be effectively delivered remotely is laughable.

The semester at my uni (S Korea) was supposed to start yesterday but was delayed a week, and then yesterday it was decided that all courses would be delivered online for at least the first two weeks, which is... well life goes on, but that is an inconvenience.

We had placement tests today, which had to be done on site, and which I was scheduled as a proctor (lots of proctors needed as we tested in groups of 10 or less) and everyone had to wear masks and proctors had to wear latex gloves and take temperatures at the door.

All three of my kids are home from school until "further notice", and that means everyone is home and not supposed to go out if it's not necessary. Rough.

In financial news, we were planning on taking the kids out of taekwondo at the end of February anyway because they get busier with other stuff, but because of the coronavirus I guess lots of parents are pulling their kids and the gym owner looked broken hearted when we told him. I have some friends who are small business owners and all of them say they are in trouble.

For myself, well my job isn't going anywhere, but my wife's freelancing has dried up and the tenants in our rental apartment are also small business owners so who knows if/when the rent will be paid. To add insult to injury, my kids' tuition at international school is astronomical and they aren't even attending classes! Anyway we will be fine, losing the extra income hurts but we have savings and my income is enough to live on anyway, but it is quite an...inconvenience.

Fortunately so far everyone I know is healthy, and I guess that's the most important thing. And wow, this kind of turned into a rant.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:05 AM on February 25, 2020 [6 favorites]

A small datapoint that emerged today was the number of tests that have been performed in Italy, which as of this evening was reported as over 8600. The number of tests across European countries vary (not all countries reporting their figure) as do their protocols of whom they are done on, so it’s not easily comparable data. (It became of interest in trying to figure out why Italy had so many more confirmed cases of contagion, and whether that was somehow proportional to the amount of testing being done.)
posted by progosk at 11:44 AM on February 25, 2020

A good thing - but probably not enough to save many small businesses:

All adult Hong Kong permanent residents will get a one-time handout of HKD 10,000, about USD 1200.
posted by mdonley at 2:39 AM on February 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Moneys are going to become a hot topic: so far the Italian government have announced that for the residents of the locked-down towns they've agreed with banking authorities on a stay on mortgage payments and issued an extension of tax-filing deadlines...
posted by progosk at 4:01 AM on February 26, 2020

Not sure how many people are still following this thread, but PM Abe announced last night that all schools nationwide are expected to close next Monday, March 2nd, until at least the 23rd or 24th, which is the start of the spring vacation (when there aren’t any classes anyway). This was evidently a unilateral announcement, done without consulting prefectural governors, the board of education, or even the scientific experts on the council that’s supposed to be dealing with the virus. This morning on the news, I watched a member of the Diet (Japanese parliament) ask Abe directly about plans to assist part time or hourly wage workers that will be affected by all the closures, and Abe’s response was a resounding “uh, we’re thinking about that, and will get back to you.”

Even before this, schools had been telling staff from hospitals dealing with infected patients not to send their children to school. In rural Hokkaido, this lead to 20% of nurses at a hospital in Obihiro, the only one in the area equipped to deal with infected patients, to announce that they can only accept patients with appointments or outright emergencies due to the lack of staff.

As a cherry on top, Tokyo Disneyland just announced they’ll be closing their theme parks for two weeks.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:02 PM on February 27, 2020 [5 favorites]

School closures are turning out to be a real touchpoint (despite indications of very low risk to young age groups from the virus itself, so far), as seen in the recent slew of UK closures due to classes coming back from trips to the at-risk areas in northern Italy. Italian schools have been ordered to close in the regions with confirmed local-contagion cases, and one other region that (presumably under local parental pressure) decided to close its schools too, saw their order reversed by courts, as their decision was deemed not in line with the national virus-emergency plan. The knock-on economic effects are rapidly emerging, at a local level as well as in the daily stock exchange bulletins...
On another note, it's very odd to watch Italy grapple with the status (that it currently shares with Iran) of origin to nearly all of the new carriers that are infecting people in nearby countries, and finding itself increasingly cordoned-off. Hoping this might open many eyes to the reality of some folks' insularity-dreams...
posted by progosk at 4:16 AM on February 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

so... something on the "lighter" side... (Amuchina is a local brand of hand sanitizer).
posted by progosk at 9:40 AM on February 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

The Poynter Institute has many articles debunking hoaxes and rumors surrounding coronavirus, and is part of a fact checking network

Example: No race or religion can prevent coronavirus — don’t fall for these hoaxes (Cristina Tardáguila, Poynter)

Factcheckers around the world are contributing to a twitter thread under the tag #coronavirusfacts.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:19 AM on February 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Our university has decided we needed to have a plan to ensure those of us who work with vulnerable populations (children, the elderly, etc) don't end up as disease vectors. So they have called all of us working in these areas to an in-person meeting to discuss the issue. *headdesk*.
posted by lollusc at 6:50 PM on February 29, 2020 [6 favorites]

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