Coronavirus death toll reaches 1,700 with 70,000 cases confirmed in China
BEIJING: After 105 more people died, the death toll from China’s new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1,770, the National Health Commission said Monday.
More than 70,500 have now been infected across the nation with the virus, which was first found in central Hubei province in December before spreading throughout the world.
The Chinese authorities have placed some 56 million people under quarantine in Hubei and its capital, Wuhan, effectively cutting off the province from the rest of the country in an unprecedented effort to curb the virus.
For the last thirteen days, new cases outside the epicentre have lowered.
According to the commission on Monday, there were 115 new cases outside the central province but sharply down from nearly 450 a week earlier.
Official media says that local authorities elsewhere in China have introduced measures to try and stop the spread of the virus, including a rule in Beijing that necessitates people to come to the capital to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Many cases still occur in Hubei, where almost 2,000 were registered Monday.
The number of reported infections increased last week on Thursday after Hubei authorities changed how they counted reported cases, adding 14,000 cases as a result in a single day.
The figures for new cases on Monday were about 100 higher than on Sunday but still sharply down from those reported on Friday and Saturday.
A Chinese national health authority spokesperson said the slowdown was an indication that the outbreak was being monitored.
However, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has mentioned that it was “impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take”.
International experts have arrived in Beijing and have started meetings over the outbreak with their Chinese counterparts, Tedros said on Twitter.
Fears of the virus’s spread remain high and the impact of the disease has been illustrated by the US reporting that more than three dozen Americans were infected from a cruise ship quarantined off Japan.