Published: Tue, February 18, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Toll From Coronavirus Mounts To 1,868 In China

Toll From Coronavirus Mounts To 1,868 In China

The latest data provided by China on people infected with coronavirus indicate a decline in new cases but "every scenario is still on the table" in terms of the epidemic's evolution, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The National Health Commission said 2,048 new cases of the virus have been confirmed, taking the total number of COVID-19 infected cases to 70,548, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The news comes as the Beijing-based financial and news media organisation, Caixin, reported on Tuesday that more than 3,000 Chinese healthcare workers may have already been infected by the coronavirus, nearly twice as many as the numbers reported by the government.

The vast majority of those cases have been in China, but concern has been growing in the past week over much smaller but growing outbreaks in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told a news conference in Geneva that China's detailed paper on more than 44,000 confirmed cases provided insight into the age range of infections, disease severity and mortality rates.

For example, in Zhejiang, over 1,000 confirmed cases were found but no deaths have been reported as of Sunday. The new coronavirus has meant yet another setback for Sihanoukville after the government previous year banned the online gambling that had helped fuel the spectacular growth of a once listless city into a major Chinese population center.

A report published on Monday by Al Jazeera detailed the difficulties nurses and doctors are facing in Wuhan, as they try to help contain the spread of the disease.

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The widening fallout of the virus outbreak, which began in China in December and has already killed over 1,700 people, is damaging output and tourism in Japan, which is preparing to host the Olympic Games from late July.

Chinese health officials have urged patients who recovered from the coronavirus to donate blood so that plasma can be extracted to treat others who are critically ill. The U.S. will provide those passengers free, chartered flights back to America until March 4, and symptomatic passengers will remain in care in Japan, according to a letter sent out by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Cambodian officials had cleared the passengers, but Malaysian officials said a U.S. woman who had been on the ship tested positive for the virus.

The State Department announced later that 14 of the evacuees were confirmed to have the virus in tests given before they boarded their planes.

The Health Ministry said it has now tested 1,723 people on the ship, which had about 3,700 passengers and crew aboard.

The commission said 560,901 close contacts had been traced, adding that among them, 27,908 were discharged from medical observation Monday, with 141,552 others still under medical observation. The numbers in China, and in other countries, are rising.

"We can not be sure, and if we can not be sure, we have to take precautions", he said.

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