Coronavirus in China: The death count in the outbreak has climbed to 1,631. (Photo Credit: IANS)
The death count in China’s novel coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 1,631 with 143 new fatalities reported from all over the country, national authorities announced on Saturday. Almost all the deaths are in Hubei Province which showed a sharp increase with new confirmed cases. There are now more than 67,535 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government. Hubei Province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reported 2,420 new confirmed cases and 139 new deaths on Friday.
The death count due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China has surpassed the toll from the SARS outbreak on the mainland and Hong Kong almost two decades ago. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a disease in the same family as the new coronavirus, left nearly 774 people dead in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. More than 120 others died around the world.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the use of digital technology such as big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to better support epidemic monitoring and analysis, virus tracing, prevention and treatment, and resource allocation.
His call came amid deployment of robots in hospitals in Wuhan treating the virus patients to supply and other materials.
More than 580 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China and three deaths, one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong and now a Japanese woman in her 80s. Health officials are investigating how she got infected.
China has opened a new hospital built in 10 days, infused cash into tumbling financial markets and further restricted people's movement in hopes of containing the rapidly spreading virus and its escalating impact.
The virus was officially named COVID-19 at a conference in Geneva held by the World Health Organization, where the body's chief said countries had a chance of stopping its global spread.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that although 99 percent of cases are in China, where it remains much an emergency, it also holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world.
China has struggled to contain the current virus despite having placed some 56 million people under effective lockdown in Hubei and its provincial capital, Wuhan. Other cities far from the epicentre have also taken measures to keep people indoors, limiting the number of individuals who can leave their home.