The death toll in China from the new coronavirus rose to 170 on Thursday, with 7,711 confirmed cases, as repatriation flights for foreign nationals continued. According to the daily report of the National Health Commission, the number of patients in serious condition stands at 1,370, while 124 people have recovered and were discharged.
Yesterday, 356 new cases were detected and 25 deaths were confirmed in the city of Wuhan. According to local authorities, 9 million people remain within the city. So far, 12,167 suspected cases have been detected – which means they have symptoms, but it has not yet been confirmed whether or not they have contracted the coronavirus – and about 82,000 people have been in contact with patients and remain under medical observation.
While there have been no deaths recorded outside of China, Australia plans to evacuate its citizens from the epicentre of the deadly virus outbreak in China and quarantine them on an island normally used to detain asylum seekers.
Officials said about 600 Australians were known to be in the area, which has been locked down in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. They would be held in quarantine for 14 days on Christmas Island, known for its notorious immigration detention centre used to detain asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat. Japan and the United States have already evacuated hundreds of citizens from Wuhan.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Committee is set to reconvene behind closed doors in Geneva later on Thursday to decide whether the rapid spread of the virus now constitutes a global emergency. Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak.
The effects of the virus are already weighing heavily on China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest, with companies cutting corporate travel and tourists cancelling trips.