New Zealand has ordered 1.2 million sq cm of skin from America to treat patients suffering burns on up to 95% of their body after Monday’s volcano eruption.
Surgeons have been working around the clock on 29 patients in burns units across the country since the volcano suddenly erupted on White Island, off New Zealand’s North Island.
New Zealand Police confirmed five people died during the eruption and one person died from their burns on Tuesday night after a total of 47 were affected.
The bodies of eight people remain on the island as ever-increasing volcanic activity is preventing authorities from safely returning to the island.
Due to the unprecedented numbers of burn victims at one time and the nature of their burns from toxic volcanic gases, surgeons are having to work quicker than usual, said Dr Peter Watson, clinical director at Middlemore Hospital where the national burns unit is.
He said 1.2 million sq cm of skin is coming from the United States as they “urgently need more skin grafts”.
A number of patients have burns on up to 95% of their bodies, while the average is 40-50%, and 22 remain on airway support due to burns affecting their lungs.
A human body has approximately 20sqm of skin, with the palm of a hand about 1.5% of a body’s skin, doctors explained.
Surgeons estimated they have 500 hours of operations to do in the days and months ahead.
An Australian Defence Force aircraft is being sent to New Zealand to transfer some of the 24 Australians involved to burns units closer to their homes.
One Australian national was being flown from Auckland by specialist air ambulance to Australia on Wednesday evening.
The other victims are from New Zealand, the UK, the US, Germany, China and Malaysia.
Dr Watson said doctors struggled to identify many of the patients at first as they were in surgery and many did not have ID on them, but most have been identified now.
Matthew Urey, from Virginia in the US, experienced burns over 80% of his body, while his wife, Lauren Urey, who he had just married, had burns over 20% of her body.
Experienced tour guide Hayden Marshal-Inman, from New Zealand, was the first person to have died to be publicly named as his brother, Mark, described him as a “lovely young man” who died doing what he loved.
On Wednesday afternoon, Australians Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, from Queensland were confirmed to have died.
Family friend John Mickel told Sky News Australia their family was informed by authorities early on Wednesday and the pair left for new Zealand last Monday and were due back home this weekend.
Police said they are ready to get onto White Island to recover the remaining bodies as soon as they are given the go-ahead by volcanologists.
Graham Leonard, senior volcanologist at GNS Science, said the chance of an eruption like Monday’s had risen to 40-60% on Wednesday evening, up from a 30-50% chance on Tuesday.
“Yesterday was high risk, today there is an even higher risk and the parameters are worsening,” he said.
He said the ash and gas being emitted from the volcano mean rescue crews would struggle to breath and see.
Emmanuel Macron filmed yelling at security guards during Jerusalem church visit | World News
Emmanuel Macron has been filmed yelling at Israeli security guards and telling them to “go out” during his visit to a church in Jerusalem.
The French president was surrounded by guards in the doorway of the Church of St Anne when he shouted: “We know perfectly, everybody knows the rules.”
“I don’t like what you did in front of me,” he added, while pointing to one of the security guards.
“Go out,” he said. “Outside.”
Mr Macron visited the basilica on Wednesday ahead of a Holocaust memorial conference in the city.
The sandstone structure, which was gifted to French emperor Napoleon III from the Ottomans in 1856, sits in a section of the city annexed by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
It is considered a provocation by France if Israeli police enter the premises.
The spat on Wednesday was not the first of its kind between Israeli security and a French president.
Jacques Chirac, the country’s former president who died in September, also had an altercation with guards in the city in 1996, where he shouted: “What do you want – me to get back on my plane and go back to France?”
Mr Macron has since told reporters his incident was just “a minor irritation” and highlighted an agreement that Israeli guards escort him to the door, before being replaced by a French detail.
But a joint statement from the Israeli police and Shin Bet security agency said “there was a discussion” upon Mr Macron’s arrival, and the guards had escorted him inside “based on the terms agreed upon ahead of time”.
It added: “When the president and the delegation finished the visit, he apologised about the incident and shook hands with the security personnel and continued his scheduled visit in the old city with security guards.”
China coronavirus: Britons advised against travel to outbreak epicentre of Wuhan | World News
The UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to the Chinese city of Wuhan after a new virus killed 17 and infected hundreds.
Wuhan’s local transport networks – including bus, subway and ferries – will also be suspended from 10am on Thursday, and airport and train stations closed to outgoing passengers.
Authorities are asking citizens not to leave unless there are special circumstances, said state media.
Screening is in place at major US airports, while Britain’s transport secretary said a separate area was being set up at London Heathrow to monitor arrivals from the city.
More than 500 cases of the new coronavirus have so far been confirmed by Chinese authorities.
The first case in the US was identified this week, while others have been diagnosed in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
All of them had been to Wuhan – the Chinese city with an 11 million population where the virus is believed to have started – with illegally trafficked animals at a market being named as the likely source.
Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
More serious cases could lead to deadly conditions such as pneumonia and kidney failure.
Concerns are growing as hundreds of millions of people in China prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on Saturday.
The Foreign Office said travellers should not visit Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, “due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak”.
Public Health England (PHE) has revised the coronavirus risk from “very low” to “low”.
Sales of surgical masks have increased in China and some people are cancelling trips and avoiding public places, as cases of the virus show up in Beijing and Shanghai.
Taiwan has joined Australia in telling its citizens to avoid Wuhan, while North Korea has banned foreign tourists – most of whom are Chinese.
Singapore is also among the countries that have started screening all passengers arriving on flights from China – with heat-detecting guns scanning people for signs of fever.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as SARS – which killed nearly 800 people during the 2002-03 outbreak.
When a new strain emerges that has not yet been identified, as with the current outbreak, it becomes known as a novel coronavirus (nCoV).
Chinese state media say the latest strain is different from those identified in the past, but have confirmed it can be passed from person to person.
All coronaviruses are also zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
There are no reliable vaccines. The best someone can do is take medicines and treatments for specific symptoms.
Storm Gloria: Hunt for missing Briton, 25, who vanished during Ibiza motorbike trip | World News
A land and sea search is under way to find a British man who vanished during a deadly storm that has ripped through Ibiza.
The 25-year-old had been spending his day off riding his motorbike around the north of the Balearic island and was reported missing by a colleague when he failed to return.
His colleague later went out to search for his friend and found the bike.
Spanish helpline service 112 Emergency said the man is believed to have disappeared around the remote Portinatx area of Sant Joan de Labritja at the northernmost point of the island.
A multi-agency search and rescue operation has since been launched on land and sea, and is being carried out by local police and the Guardia Civil.
The Briton is one of three people to vanish in mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands in the last four days after Storm Gloria tore across the Mediterranean coast.
A further eight people have died due to the storm, which ranks as the worst sea storm since 2003 “and likely of this century”, according to Dani Palacios, head of beach services for Barcelona in the northeast.
It brought winds of up to 90mph (144kmh) and stirred up huge waves of up to 13.5m (44ft) at its peak.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without power and weather alerts are still in place across three dozen provinces.
According to Spanish authorities and rescue teams, one body was found in a river in Alicante, while another person died after a building collapsed in Alcoy, which was believed to have been caused by heavy rainfall.
One man was killed after hailstones smashed through a greenhouse he was working in, according to the mayor of Almeria province, and a homeless man in Valencia is said to have died from low temperatures.
In a statement on Tuesday, 112 Emergency warned residents keep away from the coastal areas as it “can cause you to be hit by a sea storm.”
It added: “Don’t stop to watch the waves and get away from breakwaters, boardwalks and other places where the waves may break nearby. Find a safe place.”
Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted: “Solidarity and government support to the families of the victims of the #BorrascaGloria and to those who are suffering the fatal consequences of this storm.
“I reiterate my thanks to the emergency services that work tirelessly to help the population.”
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