The death count in China’s novel coronavirus outbreak on Monday climbed to 908. (Photo Credit: IANS)
The death count in China’s novel coronavirus outbreak on Monday climbed to 908. There are now more than 40,000 confirmed cases across China. The death count due to the novel coronavirus outbreak 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.
As the virus takes over China, a shocking report suggests that the deadly coronavirus may have originated in a bio-warfare laboratory in China’s Wuhan city. According to a Washington Times report citing an Israeli microbiologist as saying that this strain of the virus is likely linked to a lab associated with China’s biological warfare programme. “The Wuhan Institute of Virology is the country’s only declared site that has the capacity to work with deadly strains of viruses,” the report says.
Chemical and biological weapons are globally banned for the harm they inflict on common people. However, some countries are suspected of holding these weapons that could wipe out millions if released. China has however denied having any offensive biological weapons.
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.
China imposed a lockdown on a major city far from the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic. The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Israel have banned foreign nationals from visiting if they have been in China recently, and they have also warned their own citizens against travelling there.
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 number of cases of the deadly novel coronavirus being reported on a daily basis in China is “stabilising”, the World Health Organisation said on Saturday. The UN health agency said this was “good news” but cautioned that it was too early to make any predictions about whether the virus might have peaked.
“There has been a stabilisation in the number of cases reported from Hubei,” Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said at a briefing in Geneva.