Coronavirus: China death toll soars to 213, confirmed cases reach 9692
Beijing, Jan. 31 (PTI): The death toll in China’s novel coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 213 with the number of confirmed cases totalling to 9,692, China’s national authorities announced on Friday.
Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 5,806 confirmed cases, including 204 deaths, official media reported. A total of 213 people have died of the disease as of Thursday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Chinese health authorities announced that 9,692 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps by the end of Thursday.
About 20 countries, including India, have reported confirmed cases of the virus in travellers coming from China.
China said it has full confidence and capability to win the fight against the epidemic.
The WHO has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.
The UN health agency on Friday declared an international emergency over the deadly novel coronavirus from China — a rarely used designation that could lead to improved international coordination in tackling the disease.
“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as he announced the virus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Reacting to the announcement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in a press statement said, “Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a high sense of responsibility for people’s health.”
UN agency declares global emergency over virus from China
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak sparked by a new virus in China that has spread to more than a dozen countries as a global emergency Thursday after the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week.
The UN health agency defines an international emergency as an extraordinary event that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.
China first informed WHO about cases of the new virus in late December. To date, China has reported more than 7,800 cases including 170 deaths.
Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.
Experts say there is significant evidence the virus is spreading among people in China and have noted with concern instances in other countries including the United States, France, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea and Vietnam where there have also been isolated cases of human-to-human transmission.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the worrisome spread of the virus between people outside China.
The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries,” he said.
Our greatest concern is the potential for this virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems which are ill-prepared to deal with it.” This declaration is not a vote of non-confidence in China,” he said.
A declaration of a global emergency typically brings greater money and resources, but may also prompt nervous governments to restrict travel and trade to affected countries.
The announcement also imposes more disease reporting requirements on countries.
In the wake of numerous airlines cancelling flights to China and businesses including Starbucks and McDonald’s temporarily closing hundreds of shops, Tedros said WHO was not recommending limiting travel or trade to China.
During my discussion with the president and other officials, they’re willing to support countries with weaker health systems with whatever is possible, Tedros said.
On Thursday, France confirmed that a doctor who was in contact with a patient with the new virus later became infected himself. The doctor is now being treated in an isolated room at a Paris hospital.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Eastern Mirror and taken directly from news agency feeds.