Coronavirus confirmed in all Chinese regions, death toll rises to 170

By BBC On Thu, 30 Jan, 2020 11:16 | 2 mins read
china coronavirus
The number of confirmed new cases of the coronavirus has grown steadily to 7,711 in China, while another 81,000 people are under observation. PHOTO | FILE

The death toll of the coronavirus has risen to 170 and with a confirmed case in Tibet, the virus has now spread to every region in mainland China.

Chinese health authorities have said there were 7,711 confirmed cases in the country as of 29 January.

Infections have also spread to at least 16 other countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will meet on Thursday to discuss whether the virus constitutes a global health emergency.

“In the last few days the progress of the virus, especially in some countries, especially human-to-human transmission, worries us,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, pointing to Germany, Vietnam and Japan.

“Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak.”

What is the coronavirus?

The virus is thought to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and where most cases and deaths have been reported.

Though there have been a handful of cases where it is thought to have spread between people – most of the confirmed cases are people who are from Wuhan or had close contact with someone who had been there.

While there is no specific cure or vaccine for the virus, many people who contract it have only mild symptoms and do recover from it.

It can though cause severe acute respiratory infection and lead to death.

Like the similar Sars and influenza viruses, the new coronavirus is thought to be particularly a risk for elderly and people with pre-existing illnesses.

The city has effectively been sealed off and China has put numerous transport restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus.

People who have been in Hubei Province are also being told by their employers to work from home until it is considered safe for them to return.

The Chinese Football Association has announced the postponement of all games in the 2020 season.

Several international airlines have stopped or scaled back their routes to China and companies like Google, Starbucks and Tesla have closed their shops or stopped operations.

What are other countries doing?

Voluntary evacuations of hundreds of foreign nationals from Wuhan are under way to help people who want to leave the closed-off city and return to their countries.

Two flights to Japan have already landed at Tokyo’s Haneda airport and the passengers are being screened at medical institutions. So far, three have tested positive for the virus, Japanese media report.

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