Coronavirus Covid-19: The Number of Deaths and Cases of Infection Explodes in China

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Coronavirus Covid-19: the number of deaths and cases of infection explodes in China

242 new deaths were recorded this Thursday 13th February 2020 in China. This is by far the heaviest figure in 24 hours since the coronavirus crisis started.

The death toll and contaminations to the coronavirus knew Thursday 13th February 2020 a sharp increase in China after the adoption by the Chinese authorities of a new method of detecting cases.

242 new deaths

These new figures may fuel speculation that the severity of the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, officially called Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) , may have been underestimated.

The Health Commission of the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the epidemic, announced in its daily report of Thursday 242 new deaths. This is by far the heaviest figure recorded in 24 hours since the crisis started in December.

The commission also said that 14,840 new cases of contamination had been detected in Hubei within 24 hours. This brings the total contaminations across mainland China to nearly 60,000.

Expanded definition

These large increases are due to the adoption of a broader definition of cases of infection, said in a statement the commission, which now counts the cases “clinically diagnosed”. This means that a chest X-ray can be considered sufficient to diagnose virus infection, rather than standard nucleic acid tests.

This development comes when Chinese President Xi Jinping was relatively optimistic on Wednesday.

“Through hard work, the epidemic is evolving positively and the work of control and prevention has achieved positive results. It was not easy, “said Xi Jinping at a meeting of the Communist Party (CCP) ruling body.

The daily number of deaths had registered Wednesday its first decline since February 2nd, to 97.

Coronavirus Covid-19: the number of deaths and cases of infection explodes in China
A member of the medical staff takes samples from Chinese military police in Shenzhen, China on February 11, 2020. (© AFP / STR)

“Extreme caution”

In Geneva, the WHO tempered Beijing’s optimism. Michael Ryan, head of the WHO health emergencies department, said:

“I think it is far too early today to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic.”

The head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, added, advocating “extreme caution”. “This epidemic can go in any direction,” he said.

The Chinese ambassador to the UNZhang Jun, however, assured that China was facing the epidemic with “openness, transparency and accountability.” The diplomat defended the “rigorous” prevention and control measures adopted by the Chinese authorities.

99% of deaths recorded in China

For the moment, 99.9% of the deaths recorded in the world have been in mainland China (except Hong Kong and Macao), where the disease appeared in December in the big city of Wuhan, capital of the province of Hubei.

In outside mainland China, the virus has caused the death of two people, one in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong. Both were Chinese nationals.

In Japan, the situation worsened on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess, in quarantine near Yokohama. 174 people are now infected, 39 new cases were announced Wednesday.

The coronavirus is worrying in the European Union, where cases have been reported in Germany and FranceEuropean health ministers are due to meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the issue.

A truck sprays disinfectant on a street in the Chinese city of Tengzhou (east), on February 11, 2020.
A truck sprays disinfectant on a street in the Chinese city of Tengzhou (east), on February 11, 2020. (© AFP / STR)

“Negative impact”

The epidemic or the international fear of contamination led the organizers of the World Mobile Show in Barcelona on Wednesday, the annual high mass of the profession, to cancel their event, scheduled for February 24 to 27.

“The global concern about the coronavirus epidemic, concerns about travel and other circumstances make it impossible to organize this event,” argued the World Association of Telecom Operators (GSMA) which organizes it.

It is a major blow for the second city of Spain: the show was to attract more than 110,000 visitors and generate 492 million euros in local spinoffs and more than 14,000 jobs.

Postponement of the F1 Grand Prix

Earlier today, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced the postponement to an unspecified date of the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, which was scheduled for April 19th in Shanghai. The decision was made at the request of the Grand Prix organizers and the Chinese sports authorities.

In Paris, Chinese designer Jarel Zhang, who appears on the Fashion Week calendar, announced the cancellation of their fashion show in March “in order to guarantee the good health and safety of the two countries and to reduce the number of contacts”.

Faced with the epidemic, several countries such as the United States and Australia have decided in recent weeks to close their doors to travellers from mainland China.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) on Wednesday called on these states to lift the restrictions, pointing to their “negative repercussions” on the aviation sector and the world economy, according to the official news agency Chine nouvelle.

Sanitary cordon in Wuhan

Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic, has been cut off from the world for almost three weeks. A sanitary cord prevents entry and exit. Food and medical products can, however, pass.

Elsewhere in China, several metropolises impose or advise their inhabitants to stay at home. Banners and loudspeaker messages encourage people to wear masks and wash their hands.

The national economy remains largely paralyzed, despite a timid resumption of work since the start of the week. Many students take online courses and employees are encouraged to work from home.

Fearing the prospect of a sharp fall in growth, Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday called for an “orderly resumption of activity and production” in the country, China said.

Passengers in the Shanghai metro, protective mask on their faces, February 12, 2020.
Passengers in the Shanghai metro, protective mask on their faces, February 12, 2020. (© AFP / NOEL CELIS)

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