Coronavirus death toll in China now 2788, 9 new cases outside epicentre Hubei
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak stood at 2788 in China with 44 new deaths reported until early Friday, authorities said, adding that the total number of infected persons was nearly 79000.
Among the deaths, 41 were in the worst-hit central Chinese Hubei province, two in Beijing and one in the remote Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), the national health commission (NHC) said Friday morning.
Continuing the trend of the covid-19 outbreak slowing down across the country, the Chinese mainland reported nine new confirmed cases on Thursday outside Hubei.
Globally, the epidemic has killed more than 2,800 people and infected about 83,000.
The chief of WHO has said that the world is at a “decisive point” to tackle the coronavirus outbreak as new cases outside China has outnumbered that inside the country.
“We are at a decisive point,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“For the past two days, the number of new cases reported in the rest of the world has exceeded the number of new cases in China,” he said.
In China, the NHC said 2,308 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus.
A total of 36,117 people had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.
The condition of nearly 8000 people continues to be severe, officials added.
More than 65000 others, mostly family and contacts of the infected, are still under medical observation.
Meanwhile, in the first case of its kind, the pet dog of an infected patient in Hong Kong tested weak positive for the virus, the Hong Kong authorities said, adding that further tests are needed to confirm an infection.
While the dog does not have any relevant symptoms, its nasal and oral cavity samples were tested weak positive to the virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said on Friday.
Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory disease expert who is heading China’s covid-19 containment efforts has said that the country’s epidemic situation will likely be “under control” by the end of April.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Zhong said his team had added two influencing factors — China’s intervention methods and the elimination of peak travel after the Chinese New Year to their forecast model to determine possible outcome scenarios to the epidemic.
Chinese authorities, meanwhile, have launched a probe after a former prisoner at a disease-hit prison in the locked-down city of Wuhan in Hubei travelled to Beijing, where she tested positive for covid-19.
The patient, an elderly woman surnamed Huang, arrived in Beijing last week following her release from the Wuhan Women’s Prison where several cases of the infection have been reported.
The authorities are investigating how Huang managed to get out of Wuhan despite showing symptoms of the disease and was able navigate the transportation restrictions in place to contain the spread of the disease.
Beijing has so far reported more seven deaths and over 400 cases in ongoing outbreak.