The total number of deaths from the novel coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 563 on Wednesday, up 73 from the previous day, PTI reported. This is highest one-day fatalities so far. The number of total confirmed infections in China is now 28,018. There are another 5,328 new suspected cases.
Of the 73 deaths reported on Wednesday, 70 are from Hubei province – the epicentre of the virus outbreak. Tianjin, Heilongjiang and Guizhou provinces registered one death each, said China’s National Health Commission.
On Wednesday, a baby in the city of Wuhan was diagnosed with novel coronavirus just 30 hours after birth. The newborn is the youngest person recorded to be infected. The oldest person to be diagnosed with the virus is a 90-year-old.
China’s Ministry of Science and Technology said that a batch of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, is expected to arrive soon. It will be put into clinical trials to test its efficiency on the novel coronavirus. The drug has been used to treat Ebola infections, said reports.
The global toll is 565, with deaths of a person each from Hong Kong and the Philippines. By Wednesday, 21 confirmed cases had been reported from Hong Kong, 10 in Macao and 11 in Taiwan. The novel coronavirus has spread to nearly 25 countries. Several countries have banned flights to and from China, restricted travel, and in some cases, closed their borders with the country.
Ten more people on a quarantined cruise ship cruise docked near Yokohama in Japan have tested positive for the virus, the health ministry said on Thursday. Earlier, 10 people on ship had tested positive. The total number of coronavirus patients in Japan is now 45.
Officials prevented over 3,000 passengers from leaving the cruise ship on Monday after a passenger, who had boarded the cruise at Yokohama on January 20, tested positive for the virus last weekend after he returned to Hong Kong. The Diamond Princess had left Hong Kong on January 25 and made port calls in Vietnam, Taiwan and Okinawa before returning to Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on Monday evening. Hong Kong’s health authorities notified the ship about the passenger’s infection only on Saturday, six days after he got off the ship. The patient is recovering and in a stable condition.
The novel coronavirus is said to have emerged late last year in a Wuhan seafood market in Hubei province that was illegally trading wildlife. It can cause pneumonia and spreads between people in droplets from coughs and sneezes. Studies suspect that bats are the origin of the disease.
The World Health Organisation on Tuesday refused to declare the outbreak a pandemic and said there was a “window of opportunity” to prevent the spread. Last week, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern but stopped short of recommending trade and travel restrictions. The number of deaths in China has now exceeded the total Chinese toll from the 2002-’03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. It is another coronavirus that had emerged from China and killed almost 800 people globally, including 349 in China.
In India, there are three positive cases – all from Kerala. They recently returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan. On Tuesday, India tightened visa restrictions for travellers from China amid the novel coronavirus virus outbreak. India has evacuated 654 individuals — 647 Indians and seven Maldivians — on two Air India flights from Wuhan till now.