Beijing/Washington: The coronavirus death toll in China climbed to 2,943 with 31 more deaths, while 125 confirmed cases were reported, the lowest since the virus outbreak in the country, Chinese health officials said on Tuesday even as the deadly disease wreaked havoc globally with the total number of deaths crossing 3,000 and infections surging past 89,000.
China’s National Health Commission, (NHC) said on Tuesday it received reports of 125 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths on Monday in the country.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are 89,527 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,056 deaths reported globally in 67 countries.
In terms of confirmed cases in China, officials said Monday’s numbers were the lowest since the country began to report about the coronavirus epidemic, showing signs of stabilising, especially in the Chinese mainland.
All the deaths were in Hubei Province and its capital Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, the officials said, adding that of the 125 new confirmed cases reported on Monday, 114 are from Hubei.
NHC said the overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 80,151 by the end of Monday.
This included 2,943 people who died of the disease so far, 30,004 patients still undergoing treatment and 47,204 patients discharged after recovery, the officials said.
In Hubei province, the total confirmed cases climbed to 67,217 and total deaths rose to 2,834, including 2,251 in Wuhan, local health commission said.
Wuhan reported 111 confirmed cases and 24 deaths on Monday.
A total of 2,410 patients were discharged from hospital after recovery in the province, bringing the total number of patients in the province to 36,167.
Among the 25,050 patients in hospitals, 5,407 were still in severe condition and another 1,186 in critical condition, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
All over China, 2,742 people were discharged from hospitals after recovery on Monday, while the number of severe cases decreased by 304 to 6,806.
The commission said that 587 people were still suspected to be infected with the virus.
By the end of Monday, 100 confirmed cases including two deaths had been reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 41 in Taiwan, including one death.
With the virus spreading at a rapid pace globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is an infectious disease caused by a new coronavirus introduced to humans for the first time and it can be contained with the right measures.
Noting that knowing and understanding the epidemic is the first step to defeating it, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted on Monday that “we are in unchartered territory with COVID-19. We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission.”
“It spreads from person to person mainly through the droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes,” Ghebreyesus, who visited China in January, said.
A 12-member WHO team also visited the virus-hit areas in China and submitted a detailed report.
Ghebreyesus said containment of COVID-19 is still feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries right now, though there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
“Our message to all countries is: this is not one-way street. We can push this coronavirus back,” he said.
“Your actions now will determine the course of the COVID-19 outbreak in your country. There’s no choice but to act now,” he said.
WHO has been advising countries to take actions on the “first case, first cluster, first evidence of community transmission.”
Meanwhile, Ghebreyesus also deplored stigmatizing during the outbreak, which he said is “more dangerous than coronavirus itself.”
“It is painful to witness the level of stigma we are seeing. We are not angels, we are human beings, but we can do the right thing,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, two people tested positive of the disease in India on Monday, including one in the national capital.
South Korea reported 29 COVID-19 deaths and 477 more confirmed cases, raising the total number of infections to 4,812.
In Japan, the total number of infected cases increased to 980, while 12 people died of the disease.
Italy reported a jump in the death toll to 52, with more than 2,036 people infected with the virus.
In Iran, the virus has claimed 66 lives, while confirmed cases climbed to more than 1,500
Three people have died of the disease in France, while the confirmed cases increased to 191.
The number of deaths in the US from the deadly coronavirus rose to six on Monday while the total number of confirmed cases in the country crossed 90, Vice President Mike Pence has said, as the novel virus continues to spread around the world despite travel restrictions.
All the six deaths in the US are from the Washington state with 43 domestic cases and 48 cases of the individuals who returned to the US, officials said on Monday.
US President Donald Trump along with Pence reviewed the situation at the White House on Monday with top health officials and those leaders from the pharma corporate sector who are working on either vaccine or therapeutics for the COVID-19.
“Despite today’s sad news, let’s be clear, the risk to the American people of the coronavirus remains low according to all of the experts that we are working with across the government,” Pence told reporters at the White House.
“As the president has said, we are ready for anything, but this is an all hands on deck effort,” he said.
In his meeting with the leaders of the Pharma industry, Trump said that since the start of the outbreak his administration has taken the most aggressive action to protect the service sense, including closing the borders very early.
“I ordered sweeping travel restrictions, increased travel advisory levels, establish screening measures and imposed historic quarantines. We have quarantines all over the country, a lot of them,” he said.
“The coronavirus shows the importance of bringing manufacturing back to America so that we are at home the medicines and equipment and everything else that we need to protect the public’s health and I have been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said.
At a political rally in North Carolina later in the day, the president pointed to the meeting at the White House with pharmaceutical executives.
“They’re really working hard and they’re working smart. They’re going to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon, he said.
“Washington Democrats are trying to politicise the coronavirus, denigrating the noble work of our public health professionals,” he said.
Trump said his administration is encouraging the quick development of coronavirus therapies: We will bring these therapies to market as rapidly as possible,” he added.
Pence told reporters at the White House that many companies are already beginning to work on, but just as importantly, the development of therapeutics and it is remarkable to think that there may well be a vaccine going to clinical trials within the next six weeks.
“The nature of trials, as the experts have explained to us, is that the vaccine might yet not be available till late this year or early next, but the therapeutics giving relief to people that contract the coronavirus could literally be available by the summer or early fall,” he said.
The US pharmaceutical companies, have formed a consortium to work together to share information in the development of therapeutics and vaccines.
The US has also updated its travel advisories for portions of Italy and South Korea and the implementation of screening of personnel from across those countries who are trying to take a direct flight to the US.
Within the next 12 hours, there will be 100 per cent screening of all direct flights at all airports across Italy and across South Korea. The president has directed them to bring the full resources of the federal government and to bring the very best minds in this country to bear on this effort, Pence said.
On March 1, President Trump announced restrictions on travel from Iran and advised fellow citizens not to travel to certain areas of South Korea and Italy.
The United States has already restricted travel on people who have visited China and Iran.
On Monday, President Trump said he is still considering additional travel restrictions for countries with rampant coronavirus outbreaks, CNN reported.
“Yes, we are,” the President said in response to a question about additional restrictions on travel “from certain countries where they’re having more of a breakout.”