China sees deadliest day yet as global coronavirus outbreak fears mount

China sees deadliest day yet as global coronavirus outbreak fears mount

A total of 38 deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours alone; bringing the number of fatalities from Coronavirus to more than 170.

The World Health Organization is considering declaring the latest novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.

China reported its biggest single-day jump in novel coronavirus deaths on Thursday, January 30; as confirmation that three Japanese evacuated from the outbreak’s epicentre were infected deepened fears about a global contagion.

The WHO, which initially downplayed the severity of a disease that has now killed more than 170 people; warned all governments to be “on alert”; as it weighed whether to declare a global health emergency.

As foreign countries evacuated their citizens from Wuhan; the locked-down city in which the virus was first detected; concern over the economic impact has steadily intensified.

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Chinese authorities have taken extraordinary steps to arrest the virus’s spread; including effectively locking down more than 50 million people in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.

But that was yet to pay dividends; with the government reporting 38 new deaths in the 24 hours to Thursday, the highest one-day total. All but one were in Hubei.

The number of confirmed new cases also rose by 1,732; for a total of 7,711 cases, the National Health Commission said. Another 81,000 people were under observation for possible infection.

The pathogen is believed to have been spawned in a market that sold wild game; spreading far and wide by a Lunar New Year holiday season; in which hundreds of millions of Chinese travel domestically or abroad.

Meanwhile, the WHO has come under fire after; it last week declined to declare a global health emergency.

The global health body’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed regret; for what he called a “human error” in the WHO’s assessment.

WHO’s Emergency Committee will meet on Thursday to decide whether to declare an emergency; which could lead to travel or trade barriers.

“The whole world needs to take action,” Michael Ryan, head of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, told reporters in Geneva.

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Mayowa Oladeji

A writer with a keen interest in human stories and topical issues around the world.

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