Coronavirus death toll rises to 170

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The death from the novel Coronavirus has climbed to 170, health officials said on Thursday, adding that more than 7700 people across China are now infected with the disease.

China’s national health commission (NHC) said Thursday that at least 1,370 are critically ill with the infection and there are 12,167 suspected to have been infected with the previously unknown virus.

Beijing is reported to have at least 111 confirmed cases and the number has also crossed 100 in the financial capital, Shanghai.

More than 160 deaths have been reported from the central Chinese province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan, which is at the epicentre of the deadly and rapidly spreading outbreak.

The virus has now spread to at least 16 countries globally.

Meanwhile, the WHO DG, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said the situation is of grave concern and reconvened the Geneva-based organisation’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on novel coronavirus 2019, to advise it on whether the outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.

“The WHO is monitoring this outbreak every moment of every day. We share the concern of many people who are worried about their own health and that of their friends and family. The emergence of any new pathogen with the potential to cause severe illness and death is of grave concern and must be taken with the utmost seriousness,” Tedros said in a press conference in Geneva after returning from China where he met Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“The continued increase in cases, and the evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China, are both deeply concerning. Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak,” he added.

“I have therefore decided to reconvene the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on novel coronavirus 2019, to advise me on whether the outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern, and to seek their recommendations on how best to protect people all over the world – while recognising what China is doing,” he said.

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