Coronavirus: Death Toll Rises to 170 as Virus Spreads to All Regions in Mainland China

Coronavirus: Death Toll Rises to 170 as Virus Spreads to All Regions in Mainland China

More than 7,000 people have been diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus, which has also spread to 16 other countries along with all regions of mainland China

The new coronavirus, which originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, has spread to all regions of the country. According to a BBC report, a total of 7,711 people have been infected so far, while 170 people have died. The number of cases is much higher than China had with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which affected 5,327 people and led to 349 deaths. Experts are of the view that the figures may still be under-reported. The deadly virus, which causes severe acute respiratory infection, has also spread to Tibet and to 16 other countries. A meeting by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be conducted today to discuss whether the situation should be declared a global health emergency.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "In the last few days the progress of the virus, especially in some countries, especially human-to-human transmission, worries usAlthough the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak."

Testing for coronavirus has been streamlined in China which has led to a spike in diagnosis. According to a CNN report, Wuhan's Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang said, "This does not mean the speed of the disease spreading has increased drastically."

However, with the escalating coronavirus outbreak, several countries are evacuating their nationals from China. The US has evacuated 200 Americans from China who are currently at a military base in California and will be held there for three days. They will be regularly monitored for fever and other symptoms of coronavirus. Meanwhile, around 200 British nationals are stranded in Wuhan as a planned evacuation flight organised by the UK government is waiting for the required permissions from the Chinese authorities. Wuhan has been sealed off to curb the spread of the disease. 

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By Ayesha Hoda
Ayesha Hoda is a senior communications professional and writer, currently based in Dubai, UAE.