Deadliest day for China in virus fight, as global fears mount

WUHAN: China reported its biggest single-day jump in novel coronavirus deaths on Thursday, as global fears deepened with more infections confirmed overseas including three Japanese evacuated from the outbreak’s epicentre.
The World Health Organization, which initially downplayed a disease that has now killed 170 in China, was readying to meet again to decide whether to declare it a global emergency.
But governments, companies and people around the world were already escalating efforts to contain the illness, which is believed to have emerged from an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Many governments have urged their citizens not to visit China, while some have banned entry for travellers from Wuhan.
At least 15 countries have confirmed infections, with India reporting its first case on Thursday.
Airlines began cancelling flights servicing China on Wednesday, and more followed suit on Thursday.
Russia said it was closing its far estern border with China over the outbreak.
Beijing has taken extraordinary steps to arrest the spread of the virus, including effectively quarantining more than 50 million people in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.
The government on Thursday reported 38 new deaths in the preceding 24 hours, the highest one-day total since the virus was detected late last year. All but one of the new deaths were in Hubei.
The number of confirmed new cases also grew steadily to 7,711, the National Health Commission said. Another 81,000 people were under observation for possible infection.
The pathogen is believed to have emerged in a market that sold wild game.
Thousands of foreigners have been trapped in Wuhan since it was sealed off last week.
Massive cities like Beijing and Shanghai were also eerily quiet as countless people followed advice to stay indoors, or at least wear masks when venturing out. — AFP

Oman Observer