The death toll from a new coronavirus outbreak surged past 1,000 on Tuesday as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned infected people who have not travelled to China could be the spark for a “bigger fire”.
The rise came after Chinese President Xi Jinping made a rare visit to a hospital in Beijing, wearing protective gear as he chatted with medical workers and patients. An advance team for a WHO-led international expert mission arrived in China as the country struggles to contain a viral epidemic that has now infected more than 42,000 and reached some 25 countries. Another 108 deaths were reported on Tuesday — the first triple digit rise since the virus emerged.
The first death was reported on January 11. The number of deaths has increased a thousandfold in just one month, reaching 1,016, though the mortality rate remains relatively low at 2.4 per cent.Chinese authorities have locked down millions of people in a number of cities while several governments have banned arrivals from China, and major airlines have suspended flights to keep the disease away from their shores.–AFP