The death toll from the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak in China is on the rise. The death was at 56. and with hundreds of new infections detected nationwide, despite all containment efforts.
The first death was reported in Shanghai, Henan Province, and 13 death in Hubei Province – the epicenter of the outbreak – over 130 people were reportedly in serious or critical condition as of Sunday morning. In addition to hundreds of known and confirmed cases, some 7,000 people there remain under increased medical supervision due to their potentially dangerous “close contacts.”
China is facing a “grave situation” as the new coronavirus is “accelerating its spread,” President Xi Jinping warned earlier. He added, however, that given the immense efforts to contain the outbreak, China “will definitely be able to win the battle.”
Around 450 Chinese military medics, many with experience in combating SARS or Ebola, were deployed in the region to help the overworked and exhausted hospital staff, who had been on around-the-clock shifts in recent weeks. Meanwhile, local authorities are rushing to construct a new 1,000-bed facility specifically to treat victims of the deadly virus.
Chinese authorities have also imposed strict travel restrictions in the outbreak epicenter of Wuhan, as well as nearly 20 cities in Hubei Province, with nearly 50 million people virtually quarantined in the middle of the holiday season. With many mass public events canceled, additional limitations have been imposed on intercity bus routes starting Sunday. Medical staff have been tasked with checking travelers’ temperatures for any signs of fever – the most apparent symptom of coronavirus, which is followed by a dry cough and leads to shortness of breath
The virus – which causes severe flu-like symptoms – is believed to have first passed from animals to humans at a food and animal market in Wuhan, and has since mutated to transmit from person to person.
Outside of China, the virus has so far been detected in at least 10 states, including the US, France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Vietnam and Singapore. On Saturday, additional infections were reported in Thailand, Australia and Malaysia – as Canada announced the first so-called “presumptive confirmed case” of coronavirus in Toronto. Nearly every confirmed patient had traveled from Wuhan in recent weeks, and most of them are in a stable condition.
While the World Health Organization has deemed the new coronavirus an “emergency” in China, the international body held off designating it a global threat after two days of meetings in Geneva. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus however noted “it may yet become one.”