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Source: Thailand Medical News  Feb 06, 2020  4 years, 3 weeks, 1 day, 6 hours, 7 minutes ago

As Coronavirus Cases Surges All Over Nationwide, China Clamps Down On Media and Internet. Death toll now 587, Infected 29,032

As Coronavirus Cases Surges All Over Nationwide, China Clamps Down On Media and Internet. Death toll now 587, Infected 29,032
Source: Thailand Medical News  Feb 06, 2020  4 years, 3 weeks, 1 day, 6 hours, 7 minutes ago
The number of coronavirus infections in China continues to surge without any signs of slowing down and more cities are closing and being placed on lockdowns on a daily basis even without warnings. The virus is now present in every single province and the numbers sick with symptoms are phenomenal.

The Chinese officials constantly issues death and infected figures twice a day but everyone is aware that its accuracy is doubtful. The health authorities have a protocol in place that protects them ie no deaths or infected cases can be reported unless the individuals had been tested positive of the coronavirus. (ie a person who has symptoms but dies without being tested is not included in the toll!) This provides a buffer for them, and then in the last few days,they moved with only focusing on the figures only from Hubei , adding the  daily increments to past nationwide figures in which it was observed that there were no increase for the other provinces for a few days although doctors in Zhejiang, Henan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Chongqing etc have reported many deaths and thousands more of infected cases.
As of Thursday, 5 pm Beijing time, the figures given by the Chinese health authorities are as follows: total deaths 587, confirmed infected 29,027, Critical 2,805.
However, based on local intelligence involving a network of doctors and healthcare officials all around the country, a realistic but conservative death toll is estimated to be about more than 3,200 and about more than 80,000 infected all over the country. These estimates are not meant to generate media sensationalism or cause panic or to disseminate fake news for any commercial reasons. There are some that have exaggerated estimates as being more than 8,000 death and more half a million being infected, we do not think that the levels are that high though we cannot discount the possibility, considering what is being seen at ground level all over China.
However the Chinese government has clamped down on the news media and the Internet, signaling an effort to control the narrative about the coronavirus crisis that has become a once-in-a-generation challenge for leaders in Beijing.
With anger and frustrations running high across the country, China's leaders appear to be strengthening information controls after a brief spell in which news organizations were able to report thoroughly on the crisis and many negative comments about the official response were left uncensored online.
In the last few days, both state-run news media and more commercially minded outlets have been told to focus on positive stories about coronavirus relief efforts, according to three people at Chinese news organizations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal directives.
Internet platforms have removed a range of articles that suggest shortcomings in the Chinese government's response or are otherwise negative about the outbreak.

Chinese officials have also cracked down on what they call online "rumours" about the ze:14px">coronavirus. China's public security ministry this week lauded such efforts, which have continued even after one person who was reprimanded for spreading rumours turned out to be a doctor sounding the alarm about early cases of the illness.
During the  early days of the coronavirus epidemic, online vitriol had largely been directed at the local authorities. Now, more of the anger is being aimed at higher-level leadership, and there seems to be more of it overall.
When The New England Journal Of Medicine published a research paper about early cases of the coronavirus, Chinese Web users pounced on the fact that several of the authors worked for the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, saying they should have been informing the public, not furthering their research careers.
Many are also saying that censorship "wouldn't stop the public frustration".
The rapidly rising number of infections and deaths from the coronavirus has put renewed pressure on the senior leadership in China. Hospitals near the center of the epidemic have been overwhelmed, and people with flu-like symptoms have been turned away. Many cases have not been diagnosed because of a shortage of testing kits.
The situation in hospital and healthcare facilities all over China is the same too, with overflowing patients, shortage of medical supplies and no testing kits.
The information, media and news curbs appeared to have been set in motion earlier this week, when China's leader, and other senior officials said at a meeting that they would "strengthen control over online media" as one of several measures to maintain social stability.
The Chinese leaders said that the government's propaganda efforts should focus on "vividly conveying the stirring achievements from the front lines of the coronavirus epidemic prevention" and "showing the Chinese people's unity and spirit of pulling together in difficult times", according to Xinhua, the official news agency.
A top official at China's central propaganda department told the state broadcaster CCTV that his department had dispatched more than 300 journalists to the coronavirus epidemic's front lines in Wuhan and its surrounding province, Hubei.
The official, Mr Zhang Xiaoguo, said the department would make publicizing the government's prevention-and-control campaign its "highest priority".
It was unclear whether the 300 journalists included those who were already reporting in Hubei or whether they would be new arrivals. It was also unclear what news organizations they would represent. 

Employees at Chinese news organizations this week described a mandatory change of tone in their stories and fresh orders to hew to the official line.

Reporters  at the Xinhua news agency, for example, have been told to keep their coverage of the coronavirus positive. They were ordered not to continue mentioning the fact that the World Health Organisation had declared a global health emergency and not to cover every infection discovered overseas.
The official instructions said, "Only cover what needs to be covered."
Meanwhile, across the rest of China's news landscape, articles on a broad range of themes have been blocked or deleted online in recent days.
These included a report in the financial news magazine Caijing about deaths in Wuhan that might not have been counted in the official tally; a first-hand account of a funeral home in Wuhan; and even an interview with the head of a popular restaurant chain who said that he might be out of cash in a few months if the coronavirus is not contained.
Foreign journalists are not allowed to do any reporting in China at the moment though there are a team of 5 from two news agencies doing so discretely and also a few more stringers for various publications also doing the same. Thailand Medical News uses 5 local Chinese reporters based in different cities to assist with the reports.
What is interesting is that China has an ally, the leadership at WHO who seems to be condoning and mirroring China’s actions. One is particular is also always praising China and also had the audacity to say a day back that China has the situation under control and that it was only Hubei that is affected also said that not all provinces of China are affected with the coronavirus! It is also scary that various social media platforms have been asked to support WHO efforts to control all news about the coronavirus online.
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