China says more than 3,000 medical staff infected by COVID-19

China says more than 3,000 medical staff infected by COVID-19

Medical workers in protective suits attend to a patient inside an isolated ward of Wuhan Red Cross
Medical workers in protective suits attend to a patient inside an isolated ward of Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Hubei province, China Feb 16, 2020. (Photo: China Daily via REUTERS)

BEIJING: More than 3,000 medical staff in China have been infected by the new coronavirus that emerged in the country late last year, an official at China's National Health Commission said on Monday (Feb 24).

The infections were likely due to the lack of protective gear and fatigue, Liang Wannian told reporters during a joint press briefing with the head of the World Health Organization delegation to China, Bruce Aylward, 

READ: Four Chinese provinces lower COVID-19 emergency response level

The infections have mostly occurred in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak that has killed nearly 2,600 to date in the mainland.

Tens of thousands of medical workers have been fighting to contain the spread of the coronavirus, believed to have first surfaced in a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of the central province of Hubei.

On Wednesday, China's President Xi Jinping called for greater protection of medical staff fighting the coronavirus after the deaths of prominent doctors sparked national anger at the government's handling of the outbreak.

Staff have also faced shortages of masks and protective bodysuits, with some even wearing makeshift suits and continuing to work despite showing respiratory symptoms, health workers previously told AFP.

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Source: Agencies/aa

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