Coronavirus in China: (Photo Credit: IANS)
The death count in China’s novel coronavirus outbreak has touched 1,765 mark, national authorities announced on Monday. Hubei Province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reported 1,933 new confirmed cases and 100 deaths on Sunday. There are now nearly 70,400 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government.
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.
Outside of hardest-hit Hubei, the number of new cases has been declining and a spokesman for China’s national health authority said Sunday that the slowing figures were a sign the outbreak was being controlled.
However, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned it is “impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take”.
International experts have arrived in Beijing and begun meeting with their Chinese counterparts over the epidemic, Tedros said on Twitter.
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.