Coronavirus: Over 2,000 people now infected globally, 56 dead in China

The World Health Organisation (WHO) this week stopped short of calling the outbreak a global health emergency, but some health experts question whether China can continue to contain the epidemic.On Sunday, China confirmed 1,975 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of Jan. 25, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 56, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

 

SHANGHAI :

More than 2,000 people globally have been infected with a new coronavirus, the vast majority of them in China, where 56 people have died from the disease, according to figures released on Sunday.

 

The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and Canada.

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) this week stopped short of calling the outbreak a global health emergency, but some health experts question whether China can continue to contain the epidemic.On Sunday, China confirmed 1,975 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of Jan. 25, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 56, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

 

The outbreak has prompted widening curbs on movements within China, with Wuhan, a city of 11 million, on virtual lockdown, with transports links all-but severed except for emergency vehicles.Health authorities in Beijing urged people not to shake hands but instead salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture. The advice was sent in a text message that went out to mobile phone users in the city on Sunday morning.

 

Airports around the world have stepped up screening of passengers from China, although some health officials and experts have questioned the effectiveness of such screenings.

 

A report by infectious disease specialists at Imperial College, London on Saturday said the epidemic "represents a clear and ongoing global health threat," adding: "It is uncertain at the current time whether it is possible to contain the continuing epidemic within China."Wuhan is building two new hospitals with a combined 2,300 beds to treat patients.

 

There are fears transmission could accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel during the holiday, although many have cancelled their plans and airlines and railways in China are providing full refunds for tickets.


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