WHO said the future path of the coronavirus epidemic is ‘impossible’ to predict.
The contagion has spread to at least 25 other countries, killing five outside mainland China.
Feb 17, 2020 – Health authorities in China’s Hubei province – the epicentre of the novel coronavirus epidemic – on Monday reported 100 new deaths connected to the contagion and 1,933 newly confirmed cases. This brings the total announced by the province’s health commission to 1,696 and 58,182, respectively, and the global death toll to 1,770.
Officials in Hubei had reported 1,843 newly confirmed cases and 139 fatalities a day earlier.
Coronavirus updates: Feb 17, 2020
Although the new cases had previously dropped for a third consecutive day after the diagnostic criteria used to confirm cases were changed on Thursday, leading to a spike in confirmed cases that was nearly 10 times more than the day before, global concern remains high about its spread, emphasized by a US announcement that more than three dozen Americans from a cruise ship quarantined off Japan are infected.
The World Health Organization said late Sunday that the future path of the Coronavirus epidemic is “impossible” to predict, as international experts began meeting with their counterparts in China.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they had not yet received an invitation to send experts to the country, despite China having said earlier it would allow US to send experts as part of the WHO team.
Of the new cases announced on Monday, 1,690 were confirmed in Hubei’s capital of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated at a seafood and meat market.
As the Chinese government scrambles to contain the outbreak, restrictions have been tightened further in Hubei. Vehicles excluding ones for essential services have been banned from the roads in the province, and companies have been told to stay shut until further notice. Xiaogan, a neighboring city of Wuhan, has banned all its citizens from leaving their homes, effective Sunday.
While Mi Feng, spokesman for the Health Commission, said on Sunday that the proportion of confirmed cases who were critically ill had fallen to 21.6 per cent on Saturday, from 32.4 per cent on January 27, which shows “the effect of the coronavirus controls is appearing”.
The contagion has spread to at least 25 other countries, sickening nearly 700 and killing five outside mainland China.
By Cissy Zhou @ SCMP | Additional reporting by AFP.