The toll in the novel coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 908 on Sunday, and 910 worldwide, The South China Morning Post reported on Monday. Ninety-seven new deaths were reported from China on Sunday.
The number of infections reached 40,171. Of these, almost 6,500 are severe cases, the country’s National Health Commission said. The commission said 3,99,487 close contacts had been traced, adding that among them, 29,307 were discharged from medical observation on Sunday, Xinhua reported.
Early on Monday, health authorities in the province of Hubei, worst affected by the epidemic, reported 2,618 new cases. Of the 40,000-plus infections in China, nearly 30,000 come from the Hubei province. As many as 91 of the deaths in China on Sunday were from Hubei.
China’s National Health Commission said on Monday that the country had hit a new record in daily deaths after 97 people died in a single day due to the coronavirus on the previous day.
Meanwhile, an additional 66 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed on the cruise ship, quarantined in a Japanese port. The ship’s captain informed passengers that the total number of cases was now 136, The New York Times reported. The ship with around 3,700 people onboard has been anchored at the Yokohama port since last week.
On Sunday, Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato reportedly said his ministry needed to consider whether it can screen all the people on board.
World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that the present situation may be just the “tip of the iceberg”. “There’s been some concerning instances of the coronavirus spread [abroad] from people with no travel history to China,” he said in a tweet. “The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.” The WHO team of experts will arrive in China on Monday night.
Ghebreyesus asked all countries to prepare for the arrival of the coronavirus and do their utmost to contain it. “This means lab capacity for rapid diagnosis, contact tracing and other tools in the public health arsenal,” he added. Ghebreyesus said 400 of the world’s leading medical experts will gather in Geneva, Switzerland, this week to accelerate research and innovation to combat the virus.
On Sunday, Dr Ghebreyesus announced the departure to China of a team of experts led by the United Nations health agency. Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward will lead this team.
The novel coronavirus originated in a live seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, and the first infection was reported last month.
Ghebreyesus also warned against fake news on Saturday. “We’re not just battling the virus, we’re also battling the trolls and conspiracy theorists that push misinformation and undermine the outbreak response,” he said.
By the end of Sunday, 36 confirmed cases had been reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 18 in Taiwan, PTI reported. Over 300 cases of coronavirus have been reported outside China, including from three from Kerala.