The deadly coronavirus outbreak that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, in the province of Hebei, has now killed 106 people in China and infected more than 4,520 globally, most cases being in China.
As of Monday lunchtime GMT, the death toll in China had risen to 106, with 100 in Hubei province, authorities reported. Another 4,515 people in China had been infected. There were 2,714 confirmed cases in Hubei province, up from 1,423 on Sunday.
At the time of writing, Thailand and Hong Kong had each reported eight cases of infection, the US, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau had five each, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia had each reported four, France has three, Vietnam and Canada had two each, and one had been reported in each of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Cambodia.
Germany also confirmed its first case with a man in the town of Starnberg, 30 kilometres southwest of Munich suffering from the virus.
However, despite the vigorous outbreak, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the visiting chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) that he was confident of winning the battle against a “devil” coronavirus.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Xi are said to have discussed ways to protect Chinese and foreigners in areas affected by the coronavirus and “possible alternatives” to evacuations.
Concern is raising about the impact the coronavirus may have on the world’s second-biggest economy amid travel bans and an extended Lunar New Year holiday.
Global stocks fell again, oil prices hit three-month lows and China’s yuan currency dipped to its weakest in 2020.
Countries including France, Italy, Japan, Australia, South Korea and the US are working to evacuate citizens from Wuhan.
At the same time, several companies, including Walt Disney with its Shanghai Disney, are also suspending operations until further notice to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Starbucks and McDonald’s have also closed stores in Hubei province.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, wearing a facemask, told reporters that Hong Kong was suspending ferries and trains that cross the Chinese border.
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that includes the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It causes pneumonia-like symptoms and is said to have emerged late last year from illegally traded wildlife at a market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.
SARS killed almost 800 people globally in an outbreak between 2002 and 2003.