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“Contagion”: From Movie to Reality! Coronavirus…

The box-office hit “Contagion,” a movie about a lethal airborne virus that kills within days, is still a top dramatic draw going into the weekend.

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In the film “Contagion,” a respiratory virus from Malaysia makes its way from bats to humans, spreading quickly around the world and killing a high proportion of those infected. It’s clearly an extreme scenario, but not an impossible one, say experts who have seen the movie.

Chinese woman eats bat in restaurant (29.01.2020)

The general verdict of infectious-disease and epidemiology experts interviewed by CIDRAP News is that the film tells an engaging and suspenseful story without asking viewers to swallow too many scientific and public-health whoppers—though the experts do have some reservations.

“It’s one of the most accurate movies I have seen on infectious disease outbreaks of any type,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“It did depict what would be an extremely rare possibility of a worst-case scenario,” he said. “Audiences will look at this and say, ‘Could it happen?’ Certainly it could happen, but it’s extremely unlikely to happen.”(Sep 23, 2011)

Coronavirus updates: The latest news on the outbreak and the global response:

  • Death toll in China climbs to 170; more than 7,700 confirmed cases

  • 195 Americans evacuated from area near Wuhan — more evacuation flights are on the way

  • India and the Philippines confirm first cases

  • WHO to hold a new meeting to discuss outbreak

  • A number of airlines halted flights to and from China

Russia closes Far East border with China

Russian state media reported on Thursday that the country is closing its Far East border with China in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“A corresponding instruction was signed today. Work on it is already in progress. We will inform all those concerned properly about the measures to close the border in the Far Eastern region and other steps the government has taken,” said Mikhail Mishustin, Russia’s prime minister, according to Russian news outlet TASS. — Jason Abbruzzese

Trump announces ‘coronavirus task force’ to lead U.S. response

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the formation of the “president’s coronavirus task force,” which the White House says will lead the U.S. government’s response to the outbreak.

The virus has been confirmed in five people in the U.S.The Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday they have 165 people under investigation.

Australia to quarantine hundreds of citizens

Australia is planning to quarantine hundreds of its citizens.Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that around 600 Australian citizens will be flown out of Wuhan and neighboring cities in China’s Hubei province and will be isolated for up to 14 days on Christmas Island, about 1,600 miles northwest of Australia.

Christmas Island houses a controversial immigration facility that Australia used to detain asylum-seekers from 2003 until 2018.

Japan reports three new cases

Japan reported three new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, all from passengers on Wednesday’s first charter flight from Wuhan.

The first case is a patient and the other two cases are carriers without any symptoms, Japan’s health ministry said. The three cases were among 206 Japanese people who were evacuated to Tokyo from Wuhan on Wednesday.

More countries move to evacuate their citizens

A growing number of countries are planning to evacuate diplomatic staff and private citizens from Wuhan.

Japan brought back 206 of its citizens on the first chartered flight Wednesday. A second charter flight carrying 210 Japanese nationals arrived in Tokyo on Thursday.

South Korea and France are expected to send their planes to Wuhan imminently, while a slew of other nations are considering doing the same.

The new coronavirus has now reached four continents, with infections having been reported in at least 16 other countries. No deaths have occurred outside China so far.


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