The death toll in the rapidly spreading China’s Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak has jumped to 41 with the number of confirmed cases also leaping to 1300 by the end of Friday even as millions in the central Chinese province of Hubei continue to be under a government-imposed lockdown to contain the outbreak.
At least 237 people out of the infected are critical, Chinese health officials said Saturday.
Of the 41 deaths, 39 have been reported in central China’s Hubei Province, one in north China’s Hebei Province and one in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, according to the National Health Commission.
A total of 1,965 suspected cases had also been reported.
Meanwhile, China has deployed 450 military medical staff, some with experience combating SARS or Ebola, to a central city stricken by a virus that has killed dozens of people, state media said Saturday.
The medics, who arrived in Wuhan on military aircraft late Friday, will be dispatched to hospitals with large numbers of infected patients, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The move marks a dramatic escalation in the central government’s involvement to contain the virus.
Shanghai has shut down all cinemas during the Lunar New Year holidays, which last until Jan, the Liberation Daily said on its online channel.
The Lunar New Year is normally China’s most festive time, but holiday observances across the country have been cancelled and citizens advised to hunker down in isolation at home, with over a dozen cities under lockdown.
The transport bans and other measures in the affected cities cover a staggering 41 million people.
Wuhan — the fifth largest city with a population of around 11 million people — and at least nine other cities are under lockdown in an unprecedented effort to contain the outbreak of the deadly new virus.
Majority of the cases has been reported from Wuhan, where a seafood market that illegally sold wild animals has been identified as the epicentre of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, three cases of novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection have been confirmed in France, while a man was tested positive in Australia, the countries’ governments have announced.
The three people are hospitalized in Bordeaux and Paris, with measures of isolation. They are the first confirmed cases in Europe.
A Chinese man in his 50s has been confirmed as the first 2019-nCoV case in Australia and is currently under isolation in a hospital in Melbourne.
Hong Kong authorities on Saturday reported three more cases of pneumonia caused by the novel Coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to five.
A Nepali student studying in China has been found infected with the new Coronavirus, an official of Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population has said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the deadly virus outbreak is an emergency in China but it has not yet become a global health emergency. The emergency committee, set up by WHO over the ongoing outbreak of novel Coronavirus in China’s Wuhan city, on Thursday concluded that the event did not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
The Coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
Like SARS, it can be passed among people through the respiratory tract.
The symptoms of infection include fever, cough and breathing problems.