The novel coronavirus outbreak has killed 563 people and infected more than 28000 in China until last midnight, health officials announced early Thursday as the Chinese hunker down for the weeks ahead amid surging numbers. The virus has infected over 150 in more than two dozen countries and killed at least two globally, Hindustantimes.com reported.
Besides the outbreak at home, China seems to be fighting international isolation as an expanding list of countries are banning travellers from China – comprising both Chinese and foreigners with travel history in the country – indefinitely.
Hong Kong, a special administration region of the Chinese mainland, has announced compulsory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming in from the mainland.
Dozens of international airlines have suspended flights to and from China amid the virus scare.
The numbers are worrying, with Wednesday recording the largest number of deaths and new infections in a single day since the outbreak, a trend that has become the routine for the past few days.
The central Chinese province of Hubei continues to be the worst-hit. As many as “2,987 new cases of novel coronavirus, 70 new deaths and 113 recovered were reported in Hubei Province on February 5; the total number of infected people has risen to 19,665, with 633 recovered and 549 dead in the province,” health officials said.
Official data showed that an additional 20,629 people in Wuhan, Hubei’s locked down capital city, are in quarantine at home amid the outbreak. The city has recorded 8,351 confirmed cases, accounting for about 50 percent of the total confirmed cases in Hubei.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the epidemic an international public health crisis, stopping short, however, from calling it a “pandemic”, an outbreak occurring in multiple continents.
Early on Thursday, the Geneva-based organisation announced that it was “…working with the travel and tourism industry to discuss real and perceived risks experienced in the industry, measures put in place for customers and employees, and challenges faced due to the outbreak”.
“WHO and partners have developed a global strategic preparedness and response plan, which outlines the public health measures that the international community can provide to support all countries to prepare for and respond to the 2019‑nCoV outbreak. The overall goal of the plan is to stop further transmission of 2019‑nCoV within China and to other countries, and to mitigate the impact of the outbreak in all countries,” it said in its situation report on the disease for February 5.In the next three months, hundreds of millions of dollars need to be mobilised to tackle the virus, the organisation said.
“The total estimated resources required to be mobilised by the international community to implement priority public health measures in support of countries to prepare for and respond to 2019-nCoV for this plan is $ 675.5 million. The resource requirement for WHO as part of this plan is USD 61.5 million. The response requirement period is three months, from 1 February to 30 April 2020,” according to WHO.