China reported 29 more deaths from the novel coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday, taking the overall toll to 2,744. The number of deaths on Wednesday is the lowest figure in nearly a month. The daily toll has now fallen for three days in a row.
China’s National Health Commission said that 433 more cases were reported on Wednesday, 409 of them in the worst-affected Hubei province. The total number of cases is now nearly 78,500.
Meanwhile, Pakistan reported its first two cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, according to PTI. “We have two confirmed cases of the coronavirus and both patients are under treatment as per clinical standard protocols and they are stable at the moment,” Dr Zafar Mirza, special assistant to the prime minister on health, told reporters in Quetta late on Wednesday night. However, Dr Mirza claimed there was no need to panic, as “things are under control”.
“One case has been reported from Sindh while the second one was confirmed in the federal areas,” he said,” Dr Mirza said. He added that both patients had recently returned from Iran. The doctor also said that 15 suspected cases of the virus are currently under investigation, while 100 have tested negative.
Dr Mirza urged the public to immediately go to hospital if they experience any of the symptoms of the virus. Pakistan has closed its border with Iran, where at least 19 people have died from the virus.
The symptoms include fever, cough, shortness in breath and other breathing difficulties. In severe cases, some signs of the virus could also include causing pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.
South Korea on Thursday reported its 13th death from the epidemic, South China Morning Post reported. The 74-year-old man who died was a member of the now-notorious Shincheonji Church of Jesus. The total number of cases in the country rose to 1,595.
The man’s death came as the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported 334 new cases of infection on Thursday, the country’s biggest one-day jump since January 20, when it reported its first case of COVID-19.
Iran said 26 people have died so far from the virus, AP reported. Iran Health Ministry Spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour gave the new toll on Thursday at a press conference. He also said that 245 people have been diagnosed with the infection.
US warns of ‘inevitable coronavirus epidemic’
The United States has warned of an “inevitable coronavirus epidemic”, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Americans to be alert, as the global situation points to a possible pandemic. “It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when and how many people will be infected,” the Centers for Disease Control Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, said on Tuesday. The US has so far reported 57 cases of the disease.
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that there are now more cases of the coronavirus reported outside China on a daily basis than within the country, AFP reported. “Yesterday, the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva. The United Nations agency estimated the number of new cases in China on Tuesday at 411, and those outside the country at 427.
Tedros said the “sudden increase of cases” in those countries was “deeply concerning”, adding that a WHO team would travel to Iran this weekend to evaluate the situation.
Meanwhile, two nurses working in Wuhan have appealed to the international community to provide medical help for health workers combating the epidemic, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday. “Due to an extreme shortage of health-care professionals in Wuhan, 14,000 nurses from across China have voluntarily come to Wuhan to support local medical health-care professionals,” the two nurses wrote in an open letter in medical journal The Lancet. The nurses added that there was a daily shortage of protective equipment as well as physical and mental exhaustion of medical health workers.
A special Air India flight on Thursday brought back 119 Indians and five people from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, who were on board the ill-fated Diamond Princess ship, which has been stuck at Yokohama Port since February 3.
There were 138 Indians on board the luxury cruise ship. Of them, 12 tested positive for coronavirus and will stay in Japan for treatment. Meanwhile, India sent a consignment of medical relief materials to Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak. The relief materials include masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment for Chinese healthcare professionals.