Rest of world overtakes China in new coronavirus cases
The UN health agency put the number of new cases in China on Tuesday at 411 (down from 508 a day before) while those registered outside the country stood at 427. China’s death toll rose by 52 to 2,715.Updated: Feb 27, 2020 04:55 IST
The World Health Organization on Wednesday said that for the first time the number of new coronavirus cases reported daily outside mainland China exceeded those within the country, marking a shift in the outbreak that has killed more than 2,700 and infected over 80,000.
The agency had previously warned that the contagion, which is believed to have originated from a meat market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last December, would spread across the world while the outbreak in China appears to have peaked on February 2.
The UN health agency put the number of new cases in China on Tuesday at 411 (down from 508 a day before) while those registered outside the country stood at 427. China’s death toll rose by 52 to 2,715.
“Yesterday, the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva.
The number of recorded infections by the pathogen, which is officially called the SARS-Cov-2 and the disease it causes is Covid-19, rose to 80,988 across 33 countries. The contagion spread beyond the European hotspot of Italy, while Brazil confirmed Latin America’s first infection.
Greece too confirmed its first case, a woman who had recently travelled to northern Italy. Croatia, Austria and Algeria reported cases linked to Italy – the hardest-hit European country -- while a hotel in Spain remained under lockdown after an infected Italian tourist was hospitalised with the virus.
Italy has confirmed 374 cases of the disease and 12 deaths, and says the virus has spread to some southern regions as well.
On Wednesday, a 60-year-old man became the second French victim of the virus in the country, the health ministry announced. France reported four new cases in the past 24 hours, including two returning from Italy, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 17.
With cases being reported in more countries, traders are growing increasingly fearful about the impact on the global economy that has already been hit by its dependence on China.
World stocks tumbled for the fifth day on fears of prolonged disruption to supply chains across the world. Stock markets globally have wiped out $3.3 trillion of value in the past four trading sessions, as measured by the MSCI all-country index.
Indian equities fell for a fourth consecutive day following sustained global sell-off over coronavirus fears. Wall Street stocks, however, opened higher on Wednesday after suffering a second straight rout a day before despite officials warning that the outbreak was inevitable.
However, WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge said at a press conference in Rome on Wednesday that there was no need to panic as the mortality rate for the disease was 2% and had fallen to 1% in China, which accounts for over 96% of all coronavirus infections. “Bear in mind that four out of five patients have mild symptoms and recover,” Kluge said.
In the Middle East, Iran has been hit the hardest, with a total of 139 cases and 19 deaths. Even the country’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi said he has contracted the virus.
In Asia, South Korea remains the worst-affected country after China, reporting 284 new infections on Wednesday. It was the country’s largest daily increase in the number of cases to date, taking the overall national tally to 1,261, and the death toll rising to 12.
Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, but both patients were in a “stable” condition, the health minister said, adding that “things are under control”.
In the United States, which has 57 cases, health authorities urged local governments, businesses, and schools to take precautions. “It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when and how many people will be infected,” the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention principal deputy director Anne Schuchat said on Tuesday.
(With inputs from Agencies)