China’s coronavirus claims over 130 lives, nearly 6000 infected
At least 132 people have died of the rapidly spreading coronavirus in China, while nearly 6000 people have been infected so far, national health officials said Wednesday morning.
As many as 1459 new confirmed cases were reported in 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) within 24 hours on Tuesday. At least one fatality and 91 infections were reported from Beijing and one death and 80 cases in Shanghai.
The infection has now spread to all parts of China with the first case being reported from the Tibet Autonomous Region.
“As of 24:00 on January 28, the National Health Commission has received a total of 5,974 confirmed cases from 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities),” the national health commission (NHC) said Wednesday morning. There are at least 9238 suspected cases of the disease, the health officials added.
According to the latest figures released by the agency, Japan airlifted about 200 of its nationals out of the city, and the US evacuated about 240 Americans by air.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called the virus a “demon” during talks with the head of the World Health Organisation in Beijing on Tuesday, and pledged a “timely” release of updates about the crisis.
“Both WHO and China noted that the number of cases being reported, including those outside China, is deeply concerning. Better understanding of the transmissibility and severity of the virus is urgently required to guide other countries on appropriate response measures,” the Geneva based organisation said in a statement after its DG, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met Xi and state councillor and foreign minister, Wang Yi in Beijing.
“WHO is continually monitoring developments and the Director-General can reconvene the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee on very short notice as needed. Committee members are on stand-by and are informed regularly of developments,” the statement added.
Tens of millions of people are under a lockdown in several cities in the central Chinese province of Hubei including its capital, Wuhan, where the outbreak first began possibly in December, in a bid by authorities to contain the infection that has since spread to other cities and to other countries as well.
According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, Zhong Nanshan, one of China’s top respiratory diseases experts, said on Tuesday that the outbreak has yet to reach its peak and that he expected to come within a week to 10 days, adding that there should be “no massive increase afterwards”.
However, University of Hong Kong academics have predicted that the number of infections in five mainland megacities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing – will peak between late April and early May, the newspaper reported.