February 2020 – the virus spreads

Sunday, February 2nd

The China Open snooker and the World Athletics Indoor Championships (due to be held in Nanjing) have had to be postponed because of coronavirus.  300 people have died now.  And there’s now been a death from it outside China: a Chinese man’s died in the Philippines.

Tuesday, February 4th

The Foreign Office has advised all British citizens in China to leave.  Hong Kong’s closed 10 of its 13 border crossings with mainland China, and some countries are stopping Chinese people from entering, and banning flights from China.  I hope it doesn’t get too bad in Japan: I’m due to go there in October.  There’ve been a few cases there already.

Thursday, February 6th

Someone else in the UK’s got the virus now, in Brighton.  They apparently caught it in Singapore.   565 people have died now, 71 yesterday alone.  There are reports of Chinese tourists being banned from entering cafes and restaurants in some European countries.  I understand that people are worried, but I hope this isn’t going to lead to some sort of upsurge in racism/hate crime.

Friday, February 7th

Now the virus has broken out on a cruise ship!  So no-one on it’s allowed to get off: they’re all in quarantine.  And it’s off the coast of Japan.   And it seems that this guy in Brighton’s inadvertently passed it on to several other people.

Sunday, February 9th

And yet another person’s now tested positive for the virus – a contact of the man who caught it at a conference in Singapore.  I wish the media would stop referring to the man as a “super-spreader”.  He hasn’t done it on purpose!

Wednesday, February 12th

The Chinese Grand Prix’s been postponed.  It wasn’t until April, but evidently they don’t think this virus situation’ll be sorted by then.  It’s getting worse and worse in China.  There’ve been very few cases elsewhere, though.

Saturday, February 15th

A Chinese tourist’s died of the virus in France.  First coronavirus death outside Asia.

Tuesday, February 18th

Apparently, what’s making people ill is “COVID-19” (all capitals … although it should probably be “CoViD”, but never mind), which is a condition caused by coronavirus, not coronavirus itself. Whatever it’s called, it’s not very good, but China’s said that 80% of those affected by it have only had mild symptoms.  It seems to be mainly older people who are badly affected.

Wednesday, February 19th 

People are finally being allowed off this Diamond Princess cruise ship!  Sounds as if conditions on there got pretty horrible.

Saturday, February 22nd

433 people have been diagnosed with the virus in South Korea, and both Iran and Italy have also reported several cases.

Sunday, February 23rd

The Venice Carnival’s been ended early, because of coronavirus.  It’s getting quite bad in Northern Italy – there are 152 cases there now, and two people have died.  I’m very sad about it.  I love Northern Italy.  I went to the Venice Carnival for my 40th birthday.  Venice is my favourite Continental city, and I love the lakes too.  I loved China when I went there, but I’ve only been once: I haven’t got the feeling for it that I’ve got for Italy.  And a train from Venice to Munich was stopped at the Austrian border, after reports that someone on board had the virus.  Trains being stopped at borders … it sounds like something from the war.  I don’t know what to think about all this.  It’s very worrying.

Monday, February 24th

Inter Milan’s Europa League match against Ludogorets is going to be played behind closed doors, because of fears about coronavirus.   Atalanta v Valencia last week went ahead as normal, as did the weekend’s Italian league matches, but the situation in Northern Italy is getting worse and worse.

Tuesday, February 25th

Seven people have now died of the virus in Italy, and fifteen in Iran.  And some visitors from Italy have tested positive at hotels in Tenerife and Innsbruck, so everyone else there’s had to be put into quarantine too.  Two schools in the UK have closed, because kids went on ski trips to Northern Italy over half term.  And how many other people have been on ski trips to Italy, or city breaks, or business trips?  This is not good.

Japan’s cancelled football matches for three weeks, because of the virus.  I’m supposed to be going there in October.  And to Iceland in July, although surely Iceland should be safe.

Wednesday, February 26th

The Six Nations matches between Ireland and Italy, in Dublin, have been called off because of concerns about coronavirus … although I’d think people’ll travel anyway, if they’ve got flights and accommodation booked.  It’s hard to know what to think about it all.  Several schools and businesses have now temporarily closed because people who’ve been to Italy’ve had flu-type symptoms.  Everyone’s getting rather jittery.

Thursday, February 27th

Getting very stressed about Japan.  Schools there have been closed now.  And there are 16 cases in the UK.  All the new cases are in people who’ve recently been to Italy.  The health authorities are telling people not to panic, but councils are getting very nervy, and closing schools where there are any concerns.

Friday, February 28th

A British man’s died of the virus.  One of the people who was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.  The first British death.  Let’s hope there are no more … and indeed that this horrible virus doesn’t cause many more deaths of anyone anywhere.  But sadly that looks unlikely.

Increasingly stressed about Japan.  Some tourist attractions there have been closed.

Everyone’s getting really worried now.  Stock markets are dropping.

Saturday, February 29th

Someone’s tested positive for coronavirus in Iceland now.  Three more cases in the UK.  The number of new cases is dropping in China, which is hopeful, but cases elsewhere are increasing.  France has banned all indoor events attended by over 5,000 people.

There are all sorts of scaremongering stories going round, about the football season being cancelled, Euro 2020 and the Olympics being cancelled, schools being closed for months and the economy collapsing.  And 10% of the population ending up in hospital.  I don’t think this sort of speculation’s helping anyone, but there’s no denying the fact that this is a very worrying situation.  It’s like something out of a horror film or book.  But it’s real.

January 2020 – the first news

Monday, January 20th

Some weird new virus has appeared in China.  Honestly, what a start to the year!  The fires in Australia, the trouble in the Middle East, Iran shooting down that Ukrainian plane, Harry and Meghan jumping ship, and now this.  Funny how these things just appear.  There was SARS, and bird flu, and swine flu.  Four years ago there was that Zika virus, which I kept close track of because I was going to Brazil later that year.  It all petered out, though, apart from for those poor little kids born with shrunken heads because of it, and it wasn’t even being mentioned by the time I went to Brazil in the October.  Presumably this one will too, as these things do.

Wednesday, January 22nd

Seventeen people have now died from this virus in China.

Friday, January 24th

Two people in France have got this coronavirus now, and six people in the UK have been tested for it.  Public transport’s been closed in Wuhan, which is the centre of the outbreak.

Saturday, January 25th

It’s the Chinese New Year today.  All the decorations are up in town here, but celebrations in China itself have been muted because of this virus.  Some Chinese students who are at university here were interviewed on the local news: they’ve had to cancel their plans to go home for New Year because their families are nervous about them catching it.  Such a shame for them, but the virus does seem to be spreading.

Sunday, January 26th 

This virus is getting really worrying.  56 people have died now.  Hubei province, where Wuhan is, is pretty much being closed down.  An airlift’s being organised to get British citizens there home.

Wednesday, January 29th

Saw a really weird post on Facebook today – something about a group of Donald Trump supporters saying that people who’ve got coronavirus (why is it “coronavirus” rather than “the coronavirus”?) should drink bleach! Don’t ask me what that was about!!

Thursday, January 30th

The evacuation flight from Hubei province should finally arrive tomorrow.  There’s been a lot of hassle over evacuating people: I don’t think the authorities there are exactly making things easy.  The people on it are going to have to go into quarantine.  They’re being taken to the Wirral, for some reason, to Arrowe Park Hospital.

Friday, January 31st

Bloody hell!  Two Chinese tourists in York have tested positive for this coronavirus.  I hope no-one else there’s caught it.

We’ve signed Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, on loan.  Presumably he’ll have to go into quarantine before he can actually come to Old Trafford, though, with all this virus stuff going on.  And people with holidays to China booked in the near future are going to have to cancel them.

This is all getting rather worrying now.