China virus death toll exceeds 1600, says govt

Grant Boone
February 16, 2020

The World Health Organisation defended China's handling of coronavirus which is continuously spreading across continents.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the body has asked China for details on how diagnoses were being made.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Ryan also said that the global community needed to change the narrative to tackle the newly identified coronavirus more successfully. Mainland China's death toll rose to 1,523.

A pneumonia outbreak was first reported in the city of Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, in December a year ago.

The commission received reports of 2,009 new confirmed cases on Saturday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, including 1,843 in Hubei. The total accumulated number so far has reached 68,500.

Four people have died outside of mainland China, with the most recent fatalities in France and Japan last week.

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"The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb".

The biggest cluster outside China is on a quarantined cruise ship off Japan, with 355 infections now as dozens more cases were confirmed. His remarks were published by state media late Saturday. On Jan. 23, Wuhan became the first city to impose an unprecedented halt on outbound transportation, since expanded to other cities with a combined population of more than 60 million.

A number of local officials have been sacked for their role in mishandling the outbreak - including the province's top two health officials, and the political chiefs of Hubei and Wuhan who were replaced with Xi loyalists. As China enforces a temporary ban on the wildlife trade to contain the outbreak of a new virus, many are calling for a more permanent solution before disaster strikes again.

Some 400 Americans aboard the ship docked at Yokohama were told to decide by Sunday morning whether they will stay or take chartered aircraft arranged by the USA government to fly them back home.

An 83-year-old American passenger from a cruise ship, that docked in Cambodia after being shunned by other countries, yesterday tested positive for the new coronavirus after being tested in Malaysia. Her husband also had symptoms but tested negative for the virus.

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