China and Korea delay college exams to keep lid on coronavirus

01-Apr-2020 Intellasia | TheGuardian | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Both China and South Korea have delayed key national college entrance exams over fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases, underlining the struggle countries face to return to normal life even after they have successfully reined in infection rates.

China’s crunch two-day annual “gaokao” test, taken by more than 10 million students last year, will be pushed back to 7 and 8 July, authorities said, as 48 new infections were reported on Tuesday, all of them imported, reversing four days of declines.

South Korea, which after an early surge “flattened the curve” of new cases to an average of about 100 a day, also postponed its highly competitive annual college entrance exam and cancelled the planned reopening of schools, as groups of cases in churches, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as imported cases, continue to flare.

What is Covid-19?

It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals.

What are the symptoms this coronavirus causes?

The virus can cause pneumonia-like symptoms. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties.

In the UK, the National Heath Service has defined the symptoms as:

a high temperatureyou feel hot to touch on your chest or back

a new continuous coughthis means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Should I go to the doctor if I have a cough?

Medical advice varies around the worldwith many countries imposing travel bans and lockdowns to try and prevent the spread of the virus. In many place people are being told to stay at home rather than visit a doctor of hospital in person. Check with your local authorities.

In the UK, NHS advice is that anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.

How many people have been affected?

China’s national health commission confirmed human-to-human transmission in January. As of 31 March, more than 780,000 people have been infected in more than 170 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University centre for Systems Science and Engineering.

There have been over 37,800 deaths globally. Just over 3,200 of those deaths have occurred in mainland China. Italy has been worst affected, with over 11,500 fatalities, and there have been over 7,700 deaths in Spain. The US now has more confirmed cases than any other countrymore than 164,000. Many of those who have died had underlying health conditions, which the coronavirus complicated.

More than 166,000 people are recorded as having recovered from the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization warned the pandemic was “far from over” in Asia. “China has slowed transmission of the virus and passed one peak in the outbreak,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO representative. “The challenge now is to prevent a resurgence of new cases. This is going to be a long-term battle.”


According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the virus has infected nearly 790,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 38,000. About 3.4 billion people, roughly 40 percent of the world’s population, are living in voluntary or mandatory confinement.

Australia, which has not entered full lockdown but imposed tough social distancing rules earlier in the pandemic’s spread than both Italy and the US, on Tuesday reported a sustained fall in the country’s rate of new infections.

Authorities reported a death toll of 19 for 4,400 cases nationally, with the daily rate of infections slowing to an average of 9 percent over the past three days from 25-30 percent a week earlier. But healthcare experts warned it was far too early to ease up. “We need to have weeks on end of decreasing numbers of new cases on a daily basis,” said Philip Russo, president of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control.

Ireland, too, said the daily growth rate in confirmed cases had halved. Restrictions on social and commercial life have had “an enormous impact”, said Philip Nolan, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Group. But he also warned against complacency, saying the rate would have to fall to “close to zero” for it to be suppressed.

In Italywhere the virus has killed 11,591 people, more than in any other country a glimmer of hope appeared as authorities announced the daily increase in infections had dropped to 4.1%, a fraction of the 62 percent rate registered a month ago.

But the government extended a nationwide lockdown until “at least” mid-April after the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said it must not give up the gains it had made against the disease. The near three-week shutdown had been “tough economically”, Conte said. “It cannot last very long,” he said. “But it will have to be lifted gradually.”

In other developments:

Iran has reported 141 new deaths and 3,111 new cases of coronavirus, taking its totals to 2,898 and 44,606 respectively.

Shortages of protective health gear in India, facing an expected surge in cases, are forcing some doctors to use raincoats and motorbike helmets.

Russia recorded an increase of 500 cases, the biggest daily rise for the seventh day in a row, taking its total to 2,337, with 18 deaths. It also introduced severe punishmentsincluding up to seven years in prisonfor people breaking quarantine rules or spreading fake news about the coronavirus.

Indonesia confirmed 114 new coronavirus infections, bringing its total to 1,528, with 14 deaths.

A 12-year-old girl confirmed infected with Covid-19 has died in Belgium.

Germany reported a rise of 128 in its death toll to 583, with 61,913 confirmed cases, an increase of 4,615.

Elsewhere, the pandemic continues to spread. Spain, in the third week of its nationwide lockdown, on Tuesday reported another record single-day death toll of 849 on Tuesday, bringing its tally to 8,189, with more than 94,000 confirmed cases a sharply higher increase of more than 8,000 in 24 hours.

In the US, which has reported the highest number of confirmed cases of any country, the death toll passed 3,000 out of more than 163,000 known cases. Authorities in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC became the latest to ask citizens to stay at home, leaving about three-quarters of Americans in some form of lockdown.

Donald Trump sought to reassure Americans urgently needed equipment such as ventilators and personal protective gear was on its way, but also warned that “challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days”. Likening the efforts to curb the pandemic to war, he said: “We’re sort of putting it all on the line.”


Category: China

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