Thursday, 02 April, 2020

Coronavirus: Death toll in China surges past 1,500

As the number of coronavirus deaths spike the World Health Organisations has been accused of delaying its response for a sinister reason As the number of coronavirus deaths spike the World Health Organisations has been accused of delaying its response for a sinister reason
Ginger Lawrence | 15 February, 2020, 23:12

China reported Saturday a figure of 2,641 new virus cases, a major drop from the higher numbers in recent days since a broader diagnostic method was implemented.

Nine temporary hospitals with more than 6,960 beds have opened in China's Hubei province to treat patients infected with the coronavirus, a senior official with the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Saturday.

France, meanwhile, reported Europe's first death from the new virus, a Chinese tourist from Hubei province, where the disease emerged in December.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 66,492, according to a notice from China's National Health Commission.

"Particular attention will be paid to understanding the transmission of the virus, the severity of disease and the impact of ongoing response measures", he said.

"We must use the window of opportunity we have to intensify our preparedness", he added.

"While the Chinese authorities are doing their best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the fairly drastic measures they have implemented to date would appear to have been too little, too late", he said.

On Friday in Beijing, a 14-day period of self-quarantine was imposed on people returning from holidays. "We don't know how much time", he said.

The 80-year-old Chinese tourist who died in France was hospitalized January 25 with a lung infection, according to Health Minister Agnes Buzyn. His daughter also fell ill but authorities say she is expected to recover.

The World Health Organisation has been accused of “delaying” its response to the coronavirus outbreak in an attempt to appease China
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It said passengers above 80 years of age, those with underlying medical conditions and those who stayed in windowless cabins during the 14-day quarantine can move to a facility on shore.

So far, 285 people from the ship have tested positive for the virus.

Egypt recorded its first Coronavirus case on Friday, becoming the first African country to be hit by the epidemic, and the second in the Middle East after the United Arab Emirates.

While the vast majority of infections and deaths have been in China, in particular Hubei, there have been almost 450 cases in about 24 nations and territories outside of China, and three deaths.

The acceleration in the number of cases does not necessarily represent a sudden surge in new infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Chinese government has also approved field trials for experimental USA antiviral drug, Remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients.

The fatality is "the first out of Asia, the first in Europe", said Buzyn at a news conference.

State Councillor Wang Yi, who also serves as China's foreign minister, said China had taken decisive measures to fight the epidemic, many going beyond global health regulations and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

Business losses are so severe that forecasters have cut their outlooks for China's economic growth.

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