Coronavirus infects over 20,000, kills 427
February 04 2020 11:45 PM
Picture shows empty shelves where hand sanitiser gels have sold out in a drug store in London. Pharm
Picture shows empty shelves where hand sanitiser gels have sold out in a drug store in London. Pharmacies and drug stores say they have seen a spike in sales of hand sanitiser amid concern about the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Beijing Agencies

The number of patients infected in China with new coronavirus has reached 20,438, as Hong Kong reported its first death from the disease, authorities said on Tuesday.

China's National Health Commission said 64 people died on Monday in central China's Hubei province — the epicentre of the outbreak — bringing the countrywide death toll to 425.

The rise in the number of infections in China, of 3,225 from the previous day, and the increase in deaths, were the highest in a single day since the outbreak emerged in the city of Wuhan.

Hong Kong authorities reported a first death due to coronavirus in the semi-autonomous territory on Monday.

The patient had travelled to Hubei in January, the South China Morning Post reported.

The death was the second outside of mainland China, after the Philippines reported a fatality at the weekend, taking the toll to 427.

Hong Kong's authorities said in a press release that hospitals reported 64 new cases meeting the criteria of the virus, bringing the total in the territory to 982.

The virus has spread to about two dozen countries since being identified, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global emergency.

Chinese authorities said on Monday that they expect the outbreak to peak within 10 to 14 days, longer than initially estimated.

Countries calling for bans on travellers from China include the Philippines, Singapore, the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Governments including Spain, Italy, Britain, France, Belgium, Sweden and Finland continue to evacuate people from Wuhan.

So far, Taiwan has reported 11 confirmed cases.

A repatriated Belgian citizen, also from Wuhan, is infected, Health Minister Maggie De Block announced on Tuesday, according to the Belga news agency, in the country's first confirmed case.

A flight carrying 107 Malaysians evacuated from Wuhan landed in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday and all were quarantined for 14 days.

The same day, Malaysia's Health Ministry announced two more cases, including the first involving a Malaysian national.

Singapore announced four cases of local transmission of the coronavirus , bringing its total number of cases to 24.

Thailand's Health Ministry confirmed an additional six cases of the virus, bringing its total number to 25.

In a preventive measure, Vietnam is now mobilising its military to prepare a massive quarantine operation for thousands of Vietnamese returning from China.

The government in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Macau has decided to close casinos for two weeks.

Macau also scaled back public services and public transport and appealed to residents to stay home unless they needed to go out to buy food.

Twelve cases have been confirmed in Germany.

Berlin and Paris now seek to coordinate better with other European governments and ministers plan to meet in the coming week, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said after meeting his French counterpart.

Spahn also tweeted he had met with Britain's Matt Hancock, to address health security.




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