The death toll of China’s coronavirus epidemic surged to 1,868 on Tuesday following the death of 98 people, the National Health Commission reports.
According to sources, almost 72,500 people have been affected by the virus having originated in December before becoming a global epidemic.
1,886 cases were reported on Tuesday – a decline in Monday’s figure and the lowest figure in a day of new cases this month.
Hubei province – the epicentre of the outbreak – had the most deaths, with five others reported elsewhere around the country.
The province has currently been under lockdown in order to contain the virus. Millions of people have been placed under quarantine in the area.
The number of new cases found outside Hubei province was 79, a decline from 890 on February 4. This was the lowest number of cases found outside the virus-hit province since January 23.
China’s national health authority states that these declining numbers are an indication that the outbreak is being controlled.
However, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned that this emergence “must be interpreted very cautiously”.
“Trends can change as new populations are affected. It is too early to tell if this reported decline will continue. Every scenario is still on the table,” he told reporters on Monday.
Chinese health officials have encouraged recovered patients to donate blood so that plasma is extracted in order to treat others who are severely ill.
An official from the National Health Commission stated at a press briefing, that plasma from patients recovered from a streak of pneumonia by the coronavirus has antibodies which help lessen the virus load in sick patients.
Health commission figures also say that more than 12,000 people have been recovered and discharged.