Wuhan virus: Number of cases in China tops 800, death toll hits 26

Wuhan virus: Number of cases in China tops 800, death toll hits 26

People line up outside a drugstore to buy masks in Shanghai
People line up outside a drugstore to buy masks in Shanghai, China, on Jan 21, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

BEIJING: China confirmed 830 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of Jan 23, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 26, the National Health Commission said on Friday (Jan 24).

The body said authorities were also examining 1,072 suspected cases of the virus.

The virus, which started in Wuhan city in Hubei province, has since spread to other major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

MORE: Our coverage on the Wuhan virus and its developments

READ: Two more people test positive for Wuhan virus in Singapore; total of 3 confirmed cases - MOH

Cases have been confirmed in Singapore, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and the United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called the outbreak "an emergency in China" but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.

The National Health Commission said the death toll was revised upward following eight new deaths on Thursday, and 259 new cases reported across the country.

Out of the total 830 confirmed cases, 177 were in serious condition, it added.

Thirty-four people have been "cured and discharged".

READ: 'This is an emergency in China' says WHO, as Wuhan virus death toll rises

READ: Singapore to expand screening for Wuhan virus to land, sea checkpoints

Scrambling to contain the outbreak, the local government in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, suspended most transport operations on Thursday, including outgoing flights, and people were told not to leave. 

Hours later, neighbouring Huanggang, a city of about 7 million people, announced similar measures.

"The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health history," said Gauden Galea, the WHO's representative in Beijing.

The organisation said, however, that it was not yet recommending any broader restrictions on travel or trade.

wuhan virus lockdown graphic afp

READ: Commentary: The Wuhan virus clock is running down on scientists

The previously unknown virus strain is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at an animal market in Wuhan.

It has created alarm because there are a number of unknowns surrounding it. It is too early to know just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.

There is no vaccine for the virus, which can spread through respiratory transmission. Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.

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Source: Agencies/nc

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