China sees drop in new virus cases, but more deaths abroad Feb 21, 2020 0 1806 12345 AFPBeijingChina on Thursday touted a big drop in new virus infections as proof its epidemic control efforts are working, but the toll grew abroad with deaths in Japan and South Korea.Fatalities in China hit 2,118 as 114 more people died, but health officials reported the lowest number of new cases in nearly a month, including in hardest-hit Hubei province.More than 74,000 people have been infected by the new coronavirus in China, and hundreds more in over 25 countries. The number of deaths outside mainland China climbed to 11.Japan’s toll rose to three as a man and a woman in their 80s who had been aboard a quarantined cruise ship died, while fears there mounted about other passengers who disembarked the Diamond Princess after testing negative.South Korea reported its first death, and the number of infections in the country nearly doubled on Thursday to 104 -- including 15 at a hospital in Cheongdo county.The mayor of Daegu -- South Korea’s fourth-largest, with 2.5 million people -- advised residents to stay indoors, while commanders at a major US military base in the area restricted access.Iran reported two deaths on Wednesday, the first in the Middle East. Deaths have previously been confirmed in France, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong.Chinese officials say their drastic containment efforts, including quarantining tens of millions of people in Hubei and restricting movements in cities nationwide, have started to pay off.“Results show that our control efforts are working,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a special meeting on the virus with Southeast Asian counterparts in Laos, citing the latest data.Wang said the situation was “significantly improving” in Hubei and Wuhan, but an official in a central government team dealing with the epidemic said it was still “very severe”.Although more than 600 new infections were reported in Hubei’s capital Wuhan, it was the lowest daily tally since late January and well down from the 1,749 new cases the day before.The national figure has now fallen for three straight days.Chinese authorities placed the city of 11 million under quarantine on January 23 and quickly locked down the rest of the province in the days that followed.Wuhan authorities this week carried out a three-day, door-to-door check on residents, with the local Communist Party chief warning that officials would be “held accountable” if any infections were missed.Cities far from the epicentre have limited the number of people who can leave their homes for groceries, while rural villages have sealed off access to outsiders. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES France shuts oldest reactors, but nuclear power still reigns Feb 21, 2020 0 86 Trump ignores outcry and tweets on ally’s court sentencing Feb 21, 2020 0 1454 Merkel slams ‘poison’ of racism after 9 killed in Germany shootings Feb 21, 2020 0 86 Indonesian minister urges fatwa requiring rich to marry poor Jakarta: An Indonesian minister called for a fatwa, or religious edict, requiring the rich to marry the poor to reduce inequality, local media reported on Thursday. “What happens is the poor marry the poor and they .. Vietnamese hospital discharges 3-month-old after Covid-19 recovery Hanoi: A 3-month-old in Vietnam who contracted the new coronavirus that has spread to dozens of countries since its outbreak in China was discharged from hospital on Thursday. The baby is one of 16 patients who tested .. US, Britain blame Russia for 2019 cyberattacks in Georgia AFP London Britain and the United States on Thursday accused Russia of orchestrating a “reckless” cyber assault against Georgia last year as part of an aggressive campaign of online attacks worldwide. The .. Nepalese newspaper defiant after China slams virus criticism Kathmandu: A Nepalese newspaper on Thursday slammed Beijing for trying to muzzle free speech after it was accused of “deliberate” and “malicious” smearing by the Chinese embassy in the Himalayan nation. The embassy had .. Taliban deputy leader says ‘committed’ to peace in New York Times op-ed AFP Kabul The deputy leader of the Taliban and one of the world’s most wanted militants has written an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he says the Afghan insurgents are “fully committed” to a deal with .. Kashmiri freelance journalist wins AFP’s Kate Webb Prize Hong Kong: Freelance reporter Ahmer Khan was named the winner of the 2019 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize on Thursday for his coverage on the ground in India-controlled Kashmir during Delhi’s lockdown of the .. France, Germany sign prototype contract for future fighter jet Paris: France and Germany on Thursday gave the green light for building a prototype of Europe’s next-generation fighter jet, effectively launching a project long held up by disputes over how the industrial work would be ..