Credit…Nicolas Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The number of deaths from the new coronavirus in China has risen to 361, with thousands of news cases and 57 deaths in one day.
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China has risen to 361, including 57 more deaths in the past 24 hours, health authorities have revealed.
In that time period there has also been an additional 2829 new cases bringing the Chinese total to 17,205.
The latest figures come a day after the first death from the illness was recorded outside China, in the Philippines, as countries around the world evacuated hundreds of their citizens from the infection zone.
Chinese authorities completed a new, rapidly constructed 1000-bed hospital for victims of the outbreak and delayed the reopening of schools in the hardest-hit province.
Restrictions were tightened still further in one city by allowing only one family member to venture out to buy supplies every other day.
The Philippine Health Department said a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, the city at the centre of the crisis, was hospitalised on January 25 with a fever, cough and sore throat and died after developing severe pneumonia.
The man’s 38-year-old female companion, also from Wuhan, tested positive for the virus as well and remained hospitalised in isolation in Manila.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved a ban on the entry of all non-citizens from China. The US, Japan, Singapore and Australia have imposed similar restrictions despite criticism from China and an assessment from the World Health Organisation that such measures were unnecessarily hurting trade and travel.
The vast majority of those infected are in China; about 150 cases have been reported in two dozen other countries – this includes 13 cases in Australia.
The US on Sunday reported its ninth case, this one involving a woman in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Santa Clara County who arrived in the US to visit family after recently travelling to Wuhan.
A hospital specially built to handle coronavirus patients in Wuhan is expected to open on Monday, just 10 days after construction began. A second hospital is set to open soon after.
Also, six officials in the city of Huanggang, next to Wuhan in Hubei province, were fired over “poor performance” in handling the outbreak, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
It cited the mayor as saying the city’s “capabilities to treat the patients remained inadequate and there is a severe shortage in medical supplies such as protective suits and medical masks.”
The trading and manufacturing centre of Wenzhou, with nearly 10 million people in coastal Zhejiang province, confined people to their homes, allowing only one family member to venture out every other day to buy necessary supplies.
Huanggang, home to 7 million people, imposed similar measures on Saturday.
With no end in sight to the outbreak, authorities in Hubei and elsewhere have extended the Lunar New Year holiday break, due to end this week, well into February to try to keep people at home and reduce the spread of the virus. All Hubei schools are postponing the start of the new semester until further notice.
The crisis is the latest to confront Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who has been beset by months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, the re-election of Taiwan’s pro-independence president and criticism over human rights violations in the traditionally Muslim territory of Xinjiang.
Meanwhile, the domestic economy continues to slow, weighed down by slowing demand and the trade war with Washington.
New Zealand announced Sunday it is temporarily barring travellers from China to protect the South Pacific region from the virus. The 14-day ban applies to foreigners leaving China but not to New Zealand residents. New Zealand also raised its travel advice for China to “Do not travel,” the highest level. Qatar Airways joined the growing number of airlines suspending flights to mainland China. Indonesia and Oman also halted flights, as did Saudi Arabia’s flagship national carrier, Saudia.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run media reported that 10 Saudi students were evacuated from Wuhan on a special flight. It said the students would be screened on arrival and quarantined for 14 days.
Over the weekend, South Korea and India flew hundreds of their citizens out of Wuhan. A Turkish military transport plane carrying 42 people arrived in Ankara on Saturday night. A French-chartered plane made its way toward France on Sunday with 300 evacuees from a multitude of European and African countries. And Morocco flew home 167 of its people, mostly students.
Indonesia flew back 241 citizens from Wuhan on Sunday and quarantined them on the remote Natuna Islands for two weeks. Several hundred residents protested the move.
Europe so far has 25 people infected with the virus. The German Red Cross reported two more cases there on Sunday, both German citizens who were flown from Wuhan on Saturday on a military transport carrying 128 people. Eight earlier cases in Germany were all linked to an auto parts factory. France has six cases; Russia, Italy and Britain have two each, and Finland, Sweden and Spain each have one.
Vietnam counted its seventh case, a Vietnamese-American man who had a two-hour layover in Wuhan on his way from the U.S. to Ho Chi Minh City.
The country ordered schools to close for at least a week in 19 of its 54 provinces and cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which together account for over 4 million students.