Alwaght- The death toll from new coronavirus outbreak in China has risen to 56, with 2,057 of infections detected globally, despite all containment efforts.
The first death was reported in Shanghai, and another one in Henan Province, while 13 more people died in Hubei Province – the epicenter of the outbreak – where nearly 130 people were reportedly in serious or critical condition as of Sunday morning. In addition to hundreds of known and confirmed cases, some 7,000 people there remain under increased medical supervision due to their potentially dangerous “close contacts".
Meanwhile, the number of those who have beaten the virus and were discharged from hospitals has increased to at least 85, according to authorities.
China is facing a “grave situation” as the new coronavirus is “accelerating its spread,” President Xi Jinping warned earlier. He added, however, that given the immense efforts to contain the outbreak, China “will definitely be able to win the battle".
China’s national health minister Ma Xiaowei said that it is possible the pathogen causing the virus came from a wild animal, and that 1,600 medical professionals were being dispatched to Wuhan to help handle the rising number of cases.
Chinese authorities have also imposed strict travel restrictions in the outbreak epicenter of Wuhan, as well as nearly 20 cities in Hubei Province, with nearly 50 million people virtually quarantined in the middle of the holiday season. With many mass public events canceled, additional limitations have been imposed on intercity bus routes starting Sunday. Medical staff have been tasked with checking travelers’ temperatures for any signs of fever – the most apparent symptom of coronavirus, which is followed by a dry cough and leads to shortness of breath.
Outside of China, the virus has so far been detected in at least 10 states, including the US, France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Vietnam and Singapore. On Saturday, additional infections were reported in Thailand, Australia and Malaysia – as Canada announced the first so-called “presumptive confirmed case” of coronavirus in Toronto. Nearly every confirmed patient had traveled from Wuhan in recent weeks, and most of them are in a stable condition.
While the World Health Organization has deemed the new coronavirus an "emergency" in China, the international body held off designating it a global threat after two days of meetings in Geneva. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus however noted “it may yet become one".