The fastest rise in daily count since the pathogen was identified in December, bringing total number of deaths in the Hubei province to 1,310
Beijing: The Chinese province at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in the death toll on Thursday under a new diagnostic method, and Beijing sacked two local leaders after criticisim of their handling of the crisis.
Health officials in Hubei province said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on Wednesday, the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December, and bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 1,310. The previous highest daily rise in the toll was 103 on February 10.
Reports in state-run media said provincial Communist Party boss Jiang Chaoliang had been sacked as secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee, and Ma Guoqiang had been removed as party chief in the provincial capital Wuhan.
The reports did not state a reason for the dismissals, but the two are the most high-profile Chinese officials to date to be removed from duty following the coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan late last yet.
“Thank you Communist Party. It should have been done earlier,” Wuhan resident Wang You told Reuters.
Dozens of low-level health officials across the country have also lost their jobs for failing to contain the spread of the epidemic, which is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in Wuhan where wildlife was traded illegally.
The spike in the death toll came a day after China had reported its lowest number of new cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by the country’s senior medical adviser that the epidemic could end by April.
Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) officially named as COVID-19
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), gives a statement to the media about the response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva. The disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been officially named COVID-19 by WHO.
PM Modi personally monitoring situation: India
New Delhi: A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that the centre was not taking the novel coronavirus threat seriously, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today claimed that the situation in the country was being monitored by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
“PM Modi is personally monitoring the situation in coordination with various departments. Every effort is being made to ensure that the virus does not make inroads into India. People coming in from six countries — China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea — are being screened at as many as 21 airports across the country,” the Health Minister said at a press conference in Delhi.
Harsh Vardhan’s assurance comes at a time when the number of coronavirus cases in neighbouring China has risen to 48,206. “We had started putting precautionary measures in place as early as January 17, much before the World Health Organisation termed it as a public health emergency of international concern. In an advisory issued back then, we had instructed states across the country to establish isolation beds, procure masks and put ventilators in place. We even sent out travel advisories in the initial days of the outbreak,” he told reporters.
While 1,310 have died of coronavirus in China so far, two more have been reported from Hong Kong and the Philippines. Of the three cases in India, all reported from Kerala, one has been discharged while the others are said to be in a stable condition.