Chinese health officials reported Tuesday the number of confirmed cases from a coronavirus outbreak has surpassed 72,000, with the death toll rising to nearly 1,900.
The latest update included 98 more deaths and 1,886 new cases of the virus that has strained China's healthcare system and caused authorities to put areas on lockdown to try to stop it from spreading.
The country's state television reported that one person who died from the virus Tuesday was Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province that is the epicenter of the outbreak.
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Monday that Chinese data from recent days appeared to indicate a decline in new cases. However, he said the trend "must be interpreted very cautiously."
"Trends can change as new populations are affected. It is too early to tell if this reported decline will continue. Every scenario is still on the table," he said. He described the outbreak as "very serious" with the "potential to grow" but said it was mostly confined to Hubei province."
Ghebreyesus also said more than 80% of patients "have mild disease and will recover."
The WHO said in its latest report on the virus there were 794 confirmed cases outside of China. Some 454 cases have been passengers on a cruise ship under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.
The United States said Monday it had evacuated more than 300 of its citizens and their immediate family members who had been on board the Diamond Princess. One flight carrying the passengers arrived early Monday at Travis Air Force Base in California, while another landed hours later at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
A group of 14 people who did not show symptoms, but did test positive for the virus, were allowed on the flights in an area isolated from the rest of the passengers. All of the evacuees are being held under quarantine for 14 days.
Source : VOA