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,
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.