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Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll surges past 2,000

PTI Beijing | Updated on February 19, 2020 Published on February 19, 2020

NHC adds that 11,977 patients remained in severe condition

The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China crossed the 2,000-mark on Wednesday with the death of 136 more people, while the overall confirmed cases climbed to 74,185, authorities said.

The National Health Commission (NHC) said in its daily report that 2,004 people had died of the disease known as COVID-19. NHC said 1,749 new cases of novel coronavirus infection have been confirmed.

Of the new deaths, 132 were reported from the worst-hit Hubei Province and one each from Heilongjiang, Shandong, Guangdong and Guizhou.

Another 1,185 new suspected cases have been reported. On Tuesday, 236 patients became seriously ill, while 1,824 people were discharged from hospital after recovery.

The commission added that 11,977 patients remained in severe condition, and 5,248 people were suspected of being infected with the virus, media reports stated.

 

By Tuesday, 62 confirmed cases including one death had been reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 22 in Taiwan including one death.

China’s daily number of newly recovered novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new confirmed infections for the first time, according to NHC.

So far, 14,376 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery, NHC said.

On Tuesday, Dr Liu Zhiming, president of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital in Hubei, died of the novel coronavirus pneumonia highlighting the risks posed by virus to the medical staff.

Liu was a leading neurosurgeon in Wuhan.

Last Friday, the NHC said a total of 1,716 medical workers had been confirmed contracting the infection. As of February 11, six medical workers were killed while treating patients. This included the whistle-blower ophthalmologist, Dr Li Wenliang who was reprimanded by police for alerting about the virus over the social media in December.

Hong Kong reports second coronavirus fatality

An elderly Hong Kong man who contracted the new coronavirus died on Wednesday, authorities announced, the second fatality from the outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

“A 70-year-old male patient who was infected with the novel coronavirus deteriorated and succumbed in Princess Margaret Hospital this morning,” the Hospital Authority said in a statement.

Officials said the man was taken to hospital on 12 February after a fall at home. He had a fever and tested positive for the virus, dying a week later.

In mainland China, where the virus first emerged, more than 2,000 people have been killed and 74,000 infected.

Hong Kong has confirmed the virus in 62 patients, two of whom have died. The first infections were largely found within people who had travelled to the epicentre in China’s central Hubei province.

But in recent weeks local infections have increased among residents with no history of travel to China.

 

Hong Kong is on edge over the virus partly because of its own tragic history of experiencing a deadly disease.

In 2003, 299 Hong Kongers were killed by an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) -- 40 percent of the global total fatalities.

The outbreak left deep psychological scars on the tightly packed city and a lasting legacy of distrust towards China’s communist leadership who initially covered up the outbreak.

In the last fortnight, the international business hub has been hit by a wave of panic-buying, with supermarket shelves emptied of staple goods such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser and rice.

Authorities say the supply of goods remains stable and says panic buying is itself causing shortages.

Face masks, however, remain in short supply with queues cropping up across the city whenever a local pharmacy or store announces a new delivery.

Published on February 19, 2020
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