Thursday, 25 Feb 2021

Coronavirus: Asia urges vigilance as countries work to limit spread of COVID-19

As millions of people in Europe, the United States and beyond began holing up at home, stocking up on supplies and keeping a wary eye on how close they get to friends and neighbours, the coronavirus outbreak marked a distinct shift in focus Monday, with China‘s total infections reported at less than half of the rest of the world’s.

But while the outbreak appears to be moving away from its original epicenter, many in Asia, where the virus has been a brutal fact of life for months, continue to urge vigilance against anything that might hurt hard-won gains.

“If we loosen our grip on the quarantine, it could be a matter of time for the embers of small-scale cluster infections to be revived,” the South Korean mass-circulation Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said in an editorial Monday.

Around the globe, societies inched toward a shutdown of much of public life _ bars, restaurants, school, work. Resorts closed on the Las Vegas strip. Many restaurants offered only takeout, if they were open at all. Schools, concerts, sporting events — even small-scale St. Patrick’s Day parties — were cancelled.

China, where the virus was first detected in December, now accounts for less than half of the world’s 169,000 cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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