Coronavirus becoming global epidemic?

Beijing: The deadly Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in China and abroad as the death toll due to it in this Far East country rose to 41 with 1,287 confirmed cases, China’s National Health Commission announced today.

Of the 1,287 confirmed cases as of Friday night, the condition of the 237 is stated to be critical, the Commission announced. The confirmed cases have crossed 1,000 mark for the first time with many Chinese cities struggling to fight the afflictions. The pneumonia situation had resulted in 41 deaths, including 39 in central China’s Hubei province and one in northeastern province Heilongjiang, it said.

Additionally, a total of 1,965 suspected cases have also been reported, it said. The virus has spread to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, France, Australia, Nepal, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. Japan on Friday reported a second confirmed case.

It has triggered a cause of concern for India too as many of the 700 odd Indian students studying in universities of Wuhan and Hubei provinces are still stuck up there. The Indian Embassy has established hotlines to keep close contact with them. Medical teams have been kept on high alert in India. Battling the fast spreading Coronavirus, China has begun building a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan which is expected to be completed in less than ten days.

It also began deploying military medics to step up the treatment facilities in Wuhan and 12 other cities in Hubei province which are under total lock-down with suspension of all public transport. The fast spreading virus dampened the celebrations of China’s Lunar New Year which began today. On Friday Chinese bid goodbye to ”the year of the pig” to welcome ”the year of rat” on Saturday.

In Chinese lunar calendar, years are grouped into a 12-year cycles, with each year assigned an animal symbol: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. In view of the virus scare, several cities, including Beijing, have cancelled special events. The festival is also known as the Spring Festival. Large cultural activities during the spring festival in Beijing such as temple fairs were cancelled to prevent the spread of the virus.

China’s biggest city Shanghai raised the emergency response to public health safety to level 1, the highest, following Beijing, and Hubei, Hunan, Zhejiang, Anhui and Guangdong provinces as more cases were reported. Beijing so far has reported 34 confirmed cases of Coronavirus infection, official media reported.

The Chinese disease prevention authority on Friday released pictures and information of the first Wuhan Coronavirus that Chinese experts had discovered. The Wuhan government is rushing to build a 1,000-bedded hospital in the outskirts of Wuhan to treat Coronavirus patients. Dozens of excavators were feverishly working at the site where the hospital is being built on a 25,000-sq metre plot in just about 10 days. It will be ready by February 3, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.