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

World Health Organization warns against novel coronavirus 'blanket measures'

World Health Organization warns against novel coronavirus 'blanket measures'

China's National Health Commission today reported 2,048 new cases, a slight increase from the 2,009 it reported yesterday.

The government also reported an additional 1,886 new infections across the country, but mostly from Hubei, bringing the nationwide total to at least 72,436.

Most of the new deaths yesterday were in Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated.

The World Health Organization has warned against a global overreaction to the new coronavirus epidemic following panic-buying, event cancellations and concerns about cruise ship travel, as China's official death toll neared 1,900 on Tuesday.

Almost 72,500 people nationwide have been infected by the new COVID-19 strain of the virus, which first emerged in December before spiralling into a nationwide epidemic.

The new study reports on 44,672 cases confirmed in China as of February 11.

The fatality rate for these confirmed cases is 2.3-2.8 per cent for males versus 1.7 per cent for females.

World Health Organisation a "clearer picture of the outbreak, how it's developing and where it's headed", WHO's director-general said at a news conference.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened an experts meeting to discuss containment measures in his country, where more than a dozen cases have emerged in the past few days without any obvious link to China.

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In Hong Kong, local media reported that police had arrested two men and were seeking three others who allegedly stole a load of 60 packs of toilet paper at knifepoint early early Monday morning.

The COVID-19 cases have included few children, and the risk of death has risen with age and among people with health problems.

Travel to and from the worst-hit central China region was associated with the initial cases of COVID-19 confirmed overseas.

India will send a consignment of medical supplies to Wuhan on a relief flight later this week, and has tentatively scheduled a third round of evacuations of Indian nationals out of Wuhan and Hubei, the Embassy of India (EOI) in Beijing said on Monday.

More than 12,000 people have been cured, according to Chinese authorities.

Cases seem to have been declining since February 1, but that could change as people return to work and school after the Chinese holidays, the report warns. Cambodian officials had cleared the passengers, but Malaysian officials said a USA woman who had been on the ship tested positive for the virus.

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the country was "entering into a phase that is different from before", requiring new steps to stop the spread of the virus.

The U.S. evacuated 338 American passengers, with a lot of them placed in a 14-day quarantine at military bases in California and Texas. Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan have each reported one fatality, while France on Saturday announced the first death outside Asia, an elderly Chinese tourist.

Health officials in China have published the first details of more than 70,000 cases of Covid-19, in the biggest study since the outbreak began.

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