Coronavirus: 636 dead in China, confident it will overcome the epidemic

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The coronavirus epidemic claimed 73 more lives on Thursday in mainland China, Chinese health officials announced Friday, bringing the country’s death toll to 636 since the virus began Wuhan last December.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has assured his American counterpart Donald Trump that China is doing everything in its power to contain the epidemic, Chinese public television said on Friday.

China is gradually achieving results and has confidence in its ability to overcome the epidemic without long-term consequences for economic development, Xi told Trump, according to remarks reported by the official Chinese press.

A White House spokesman for the interview said US and Chinese presidents have reaffirmed their commitment to implement the measures of the “phase 1” trade agreement signed last month, while the Coronavirus health crisis threatens global growth and China-US trade relations.

In a statement released on Friday, the Chinese National Health Commission said that 3,143 cases of infection were identified during the day on Thursday, bringing the number of virus-infected patients in China to 31,161.

The vast majority of these cases have been reported in Hubei province, the focus of the epidemic, where health officials said on Friday there were 69 additional deaths in the province alone during Thursday.

Among the new victims of the coronavirus is one of the first Chinese doctors to alert the world community to the virus. This is Li Wenliang, 34, an ophthalmologist from Wuhan Hospital.

Chinese authorities have placed Wuhan and several neighboring cities in containment, while many global airlines have partially or fully suspended their routes to China.

The capital city of Beijing looks like a ghost town, with main arteries and tourist spots deserted by locals and tourists alike, a Reuters reporter said.

Cases of contamination have been identified in more than twenty countries, and the epidemic this week made a second victim outside of mainland China, in Hong Kong.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which said there is currently no known effective treatment for coronavirus 2019-nCoV, said on Thursday that it was too early to estimate that the spread of the epidemic was peaking.

A third case of contamination has been confirmed in Italy, said a spokesman for the Italian Ministry of Health on Thursday. The man was part of a group of 56 people repatriated last week from Wuhan.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Rome is planning to re-establish some air links with China, after having suspended all flights last month for fear of spreading the virus.

The question was raised during a meeting Thursday between the Chinese deputy foreign minister and the Italian ambassador to China, said Chinese diplomacy in a statement published on Friday on its website.

Authorities in Japan announced on Friday that an additional 41 passengers on a cruise ship off Yokohama were infected with the virus and would be hospitalized in Tokyo and elsewhere.

This brings the number of confirmed cases among the thousands of passengers to 61, said the Japanese Ministry of Health. The liner is in quarantine.

Air repatriation operations continue. Two planes took off Friday from Wuhan with US nationals on board, the State Department in Washington said.


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