Coronavirus toll crosses 1,360

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Medical team members get ready to set off at Nanjing Lukou International Airport in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, Feb. 11, 2020. A 310-member medical team of Jiangsu departed on Tuesday for Huangshi, central China's Hubei Province, to aid the novel coronavirus control efforts there. (Xinhua/Ji Chunpeng/IANS)

The authorities said 14,840 new cases of the infection had been detected in the province, where the commission said it has begun counting the number of “clinically diagnosed” people, which allows them to receive the same treatment as those who have tested positive for the illness…reports Asian Lite News

Medical team members board the flight to Hubei Province at Changshui International Airport in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Feb. 12, 2020.(Xinhua/Jiang Wenyao/IANS)

Chinese authorities on Thursday said the overall toll due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country has reached 1,361, with 59,539 confirmed cases, after Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, registered the largest one-day increase in infections and deaths.

The Hubei provincial health commission said COVID-19, the official name of the disease as designated by the WHO, had killed 1,310 people, 242 of which died on Wednesday alone, reports media.

This represents, by a large margin, the highest number of casualties recorded in a single day in Hubei, where the previous highest daily spike was 103 on Monday.

The authorities said 14,840 new cases of the infection had been detected in the province, where the commission said it has begun counting the number of “clinically diagnosed” people, which allows them to receive the same treatment as those who have tested positive for the illness.

Until now the patients were confirmed by means of tests, performed with equipment that was scarce in the province. It said doctors would now be more able to confirm cases.

 by . Although provincial authorities have not provided additional details about the new criteria for accounting for patients, the new measures will allow “patients to receive timely treatment,” the commission said in a statement.

Last week, Hubei health authorities had indicated they would begin to recognize the results of CT scans to confirm infections, which would allow hospitals to isolate patients more quickly.

On Wednesday, the provincial commission confirmed 1,638 new cases, while the dead totalled to 94.

Meanwhile, the WHO on Tuesday officially named the disease COVID-19, while the virus which causes it has been called SARS-CoV-2 (changed from its provisional name 2019-nCoV) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

The organization said “CO” stands for “corona,” “VI” for “virus, “D” for “disease” and “-19” for “2019” – as the outbreak was first detected December 31.

According to the latest data, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (247), Singapore (50), Hong Kong (50), Thailand (33), South Korea (28), Taiwan (18), Malaysia (18), Germany (16), Australia (15), Vietnam (15), the US (14), France (11), Macau (10), the UK (nine), the UAE (eight), Canada (seven), India (three), the Philippines (three), Italy (three), Russia (two), Spain (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Sweden (one) and Belgium (one), the South China Morning Post said in a report citing various health agencies.

To date, all but two deaths – in the Philippines and Hong Kong – have occurred in mainland China and China also accounts for about 99 per cent of those infected.

Indian patient in the UAE

An Indian expat, who was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus taking the total number of cases in the country to eight, was in a “stable condition”, according to the Indian Embassy here.

 by . On Monday, the UAE’s Ministry of Health confirmed that the Indian expat was infected with the coronavirus after he had interacted with a recently diagnosed person.

“All reported cases are in stable condition, except for one case, who is being put under close observation by a team of senior consultants at the Intensive Care Unit,” the Ministry added.

The Indian expat is among the eight cases of coronavirus detected in the UAE so far. Others include six Chinese nationals and one from Philippines.

Earlier this week, the UAE also announced that one of the infected patients, a 73-year-old Chinese national had recovered from the infection.

Too early to predict end

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus

“This outbreak could still go in any direction,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, the BBC reported.

On Tuesday, top Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said the epidemic should peak in China this month before subsiding.

The WHO has been able to track down the source of transmission in all but eight of the 441 cases of the virus outside China, its head of emergencies Michael Ryan said.

He said that the apparent stabilisation in the number of new cases in China and the slower spread of cases outside Hubei province – where the virus first emerged – was reassuring.

“(That) is to a great extent due to a huge public health operation in China,” he said.

But he added: “I think it’s way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now.”

Four possible vaccines were being funded for pre-clinical development, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan told reporters.

“I think we will find a vaccine,” she said. “It will take some time. A vaccine cannot be made overnight.”

Dr Tedros, the WHO chief, also praised Cambodia for taking in the Westerdam, a US cruise ship that had earlier been turned away from ports in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan despite having no sick patients on board.

It was “an example of the international solidarity we have consistently been calling for”, he said.

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