Coronavirus in China: Almost all the deaths are in Hubei Province which showed a sharp increase with new confirmed cases. (Photo Credit: IANS)
The death count in China’s novel coronavirus outbreak has crossed 1,600, national authorities announced on Sunday. Almost all the deaths are in Hubei Province which showed a sharp increase with new confirmed cases. There are now nearly 68,000 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government. Hubei Province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reported 1,843 new confirmed cases on Saturday.
The death count due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China has surpassed the toll from the SARS outbreak on the mainland and Hong Kong almost two decades ago. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a disease in the same family as the new coronavirus, left nearly 774 people dead in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. More than 120 others died around the world.
The province added more than 14,000 cases in a single day this week after officials there changed their criteria for counting cases to include people clinically diagnosed through lung imaging, in addition to those with a positive lab test result.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the use of digital technology such as big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to better support epidemic monitoring and analysis, virus tracing, prevention and treatment, and resource allocation.
His call came amid deployment of robots in hospitals in Wuhan treating the virus patients to supply and other materials.
China has opened a new hospital built in 10 days, infused cash into tumbling financial markets and further restricted people's movement in hopes of containing the rapidly spreading virus and its escalating impact.
The virus was officially named COVID-19 at a conference in Geneva held by the World Health Organization, where the body's chief said countries had a chance of stopping its global spread.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that although 99 percent of cases are in China, where it remains much an emergency, it also holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world.
China has struggled to contain the current virus despite having placed some 56 million people under effective lockdown in Hubei and its provincial capital, Wuhan. Other cities far from the epicentre have also taken measures to keep people indoors, limiting the number of individuals who can leave their home.