The death toll in China due to the coronavirus epidemic went up to 908 and a total of more than 40,000 cases have been confirmed so far, Chinese health officials said on Monday (February 10).
China’s National Health Commission reported that 97 people had died and 3,062 new cases of the lethal infection were confirmed on Sunday (February 9). Out of the 97 deaths, 91 were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, two in Anhui, and one each in Heilongjiang, Jiangxi, Hainan and Gansu, according to the commission.
A total of 40,171 confirmed cases of the outbreak were reported in 31 provincial-level regions so far, the commission noted.
An additional 4,008 new suspected cases were reported on Sunday. Moreover, 296 patients became seriously ill, the commission said, adding that 6,484 patients remained in severe conditions and that 23,589 people were suspected of being infected with the virus.
A total of 3,281 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.
The commission said 3.99 lakh close contacts had been traced, adding that among them, 29,307 were discharged from medical observation on Sunday, with 1.87 lakh still under medical observation.
By the end of Sunday, 36 confirmed cases, including one death, had been reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 18 in Taiwan.
Overseas, over 300 cases of coronavirus have been reported, including from three from Kerala.
Meanwhile, millions of people have started returning to Beijing and other cities in China after the extended holiday of China’s New Year. The holidays, which began on January 24 and were due to end on February 3, has been extended till February 9 as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
However, the employees of most offices have been asked to work from home.
As the biggest reverse migration began, Chinese officials said on Saturday (February 8) that cases of the deadly infection had started declining for the first time after weeks of witnessing an acute rise.
China’s National Health Commission also stated that the number of new confirmed cases of the virus outside Hubei in the country has been dropping for six consecutive days. A total of 444 new confirmed cases were reported on Sunday outside Hubei, the data showed.
The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Saturday that the UN health agency would send an international mission to China as it received a response from Beijing. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the team leader would leave early next week with the rest of the experts to follow.
The UN health agency said the number of cases of the coronavirus in China was “stabilising”, which was “good news”. “There has been a stabilisation in the number of cases reported from Hubei,” Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme said at a briefing in Geneva.
“We’re in a four-day stable period where the number of reported cases hasn’t advanced. That’s good news and may reflect the impact of the control measures that have been put in place,” Ryan was quoted as saying.
However, he added that it was too early to make any predictions about whether the virus might have peaked.
(With inputs from agencies)