Coronavirus
A woman wearing a mask is seen at a subway station in Shanghai (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

Authorities in China's Huanggang city would tighten epidemic control measures, sealing more neighborhoods and at the same time limiting the number of vehicles on the roads. Delivery services for food and other essentials will undergo strict checking and at some level will only be done by designated personnel. 

At the same time, Beijing officials widen the mass roundup of possibly infected people outside of Wuhan. Wuhan has been on lockdown since January 23 but measures to gather people became tougher early this month when authorities recognized the difficulty of containing the outbreak.

As of Friday, the Hubei health authorities said 116 more people died of the COVID-19 virus. The death toll in the epicenter is now at 1,426. The province has new 4,823 new infections apart from the 36,719 patients hospitalized in Hubei. Of that, 1685 are in critical condition while 4,131 have recovered and discharged. 

Elsewhere in the mainland, 1,483 people died already, bringing the infections to 51,986. Around the world, there are more than 65,191 confirmed cases.

China has shocked the world anew when it reported a remarkable spike in cases again on Wednesday even if it's coming from an already stabilizing number of cases. The World Health Organization is quick to clarify that the spike in cases is because China implements a new diagnosis where even the concealed lung infections are traced. This way, health experts don't need to wait for slower laboratory results. 

China is making an all-out war against the outbreak, making all measures as fast as possible. Gilead Sciences has just received the green light to mass-producing redeliver. The drug, which was used in Ebola patients, has no license yet, neither any approval from food and regulation authorities. 

Meanwhile, businesses continue to suffer. Airbnb suspended booking in Beijing until May and all reservations until April 30 will be refunded. 

Kraft Heinz announced the closures of eight of its plants in China due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, has already closed two-thirds of its stores in China. The luxury brand said it underestimated the impact of the virus before with Asian stores now suffering a decline in sales. 

HSBC reduced its economic growth forecast for mainland China's economic growth to 4.1% year-on-year from 5.8% due to the impact of COVID-19. 

COVID-19 In Asia

Vietnam has become the first country other than China to implement mass quarantine of 10,000 people. The measure was done after six people tested positive for the COVID-19. Authorities said mass quarantine is needed to avoid an outbreak in the country where medical facilities remained to be faltering.  

Japan reported its first death related to COVID-19. The patient was among the 200 people who were infected while onboard the cruise ship docked on Yokohama port. With that, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved emergency funding of about $140 million to boost testing AMD medical treatment capacity. 

So far, three people outside of China have died. The two other patients were from Hong Kong and the Philippines. 

In Singapore, the hunt is on for the patient zero who spread the virus from a business meeting in Grand Hyatt to Malaysia, South Korea, Spain and most recently in France. 

The organizer of the meeting held in January, that was previously unnamed, was British gas analytics firm Servomex. Fears were heightened by the fact that the hotel has a central location as well as a racy nightclub in the basement. Experts need to find the patient zero to trace his whereabouts and anticipate where the virus can claim its new infection. 

Separately, Singapore has eight new cases of COVID-10 bringing the total to 58 people infected. 

Meanwhile, international observers are shocked when Taiwan decided to ban non-citizen children of Taiwanese with mainland Chinese spouses. The local government said they have to do it because of the lack of medical care facilities. 

Indonesia is doing all necessary means to trace the whereabouts of one Chinese who tested positive of the virus but had come from the resort island of Bali. Indonesia is popular among Chinese tourists but the country has so far not recorded any cases. 

COVID-19 Global

There are at least 24 other countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Their respective governments are undergoing evacuations of their citizens out of Hubei.  

In Australia, an elderly man from Perth tested positive for the virus. The patient got the infection while on the Diamond Princess.  

The United States has just confirmed its 15th case of COVID-19. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the patient is among those quarantined in Texas. 

In UC San Diego, experts said they are treating three patients. Two of them have already tested positive while the third is still under investigation. 

As the US deals with its possible COVID-19 outbreak, it extends a hand to North Korea as the world suspects that the secretive country is not being transparent about the spread of the virus.  

In the United Kingdom, doctors are warning that more cases of infection will happen in the coming days. Health experts expect that new cases will increase as more people traveling from abroad are coming to the country. So far, a total of 1,750 were tested for the virus with only eight coming out positive. 

In Russia, two women being monitored escaped from the hospital, citing poor facilities and neglect from hospital staff. Both women came from a trip to Hainan, southern China. 

In Sweden, 140 people were tested but only one turned out to be positive.