The number of confirmed deaths from China’s viral epidemic has risen to 170, the government said on Thursday (January 30), as the Hubei province reported 37 new fatalities.
Hubei, the epicentre of a contagion that is causing mounting global fear, also reported 1,032 new confirmed cases of infection.
China’s National Health Commission reported 1,737 new cases on Thursday, which brings the total number of confirmed cases to 7,711.
The health commission said in its daily report that 1,370 patients remained in critical condition, and 12,167 people were suspected of being infected with the virus by the end of Wednesday (January 29). A total of 124 people have been discharged from hospital after recovery.
Chinese authorities are trying to contain the epidemic while other countries, including India, are working on plans to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Outside China, Japan, Germany, Canada, and Vietnam have confirmed cases of infection and human-to-human transmission.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday (January 28) called the coronavirus a “demon” that should be brought under control, pledging that the government would be transparent and release information on the virus in a “timely” manner.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned all governments to take action over the deadly coronavirus. It has also called for an urgent meeting on Thursday to decide whether to declare China’s epidemic a global health emergency, since the move might enable better international cooperation.
The coronavirus has now infected more people than the number of those who were affected by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-2003.
At the same time, scientists and health experts estimate a 2% chance of infection for anyone who comes in contact with the coronavirus. On the contrary, the SARS virus had a 10% chance of infecting those who came in contact with it.
(With inputs from agencies)