The death toll since the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has risen to 362, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced.
WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed this on Monday in his report at the 146th meeting of the Executive Board of the agency.
He explained that all the deaths were recorded in China where the outbreak of 2019-nCoV was first reported, while just one death was reported outside the country.
Ghebreyesus said, “As you know, last week, I declared another public health emergency of international concern – this time over the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“As of this morning (February 3), there are 17,238 confirmed cases in China and 361 deaths.”
“Outside China, there are 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries, and one death, which was reported from the Philippines yesterday (Sunday),” he added.
The new coronavirus was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31, 2019, while the first reported case outside China was in the Philippines.
During his visit to Beijing last week, the WHO chief said he was impressed in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his detailed knowledge of the outbreak.
He also commended the Chinese leader for his personal leadership and the “serious measures at the epicentre, at the source”, in order to protect the people.
Fighting At The Epicentre
Jinping, according to Ghebreyesus, also hinted at steps taken to prevent the spread of the virus to other countries.
“That’s exactly the strategy we discussed with him,” he told the meeting, adding, “If we invest in fighting at the epicentre, at the source, then the spread to other countries is minimal and also slow.”
The WHO chief stressed, “If it’s minimal and slow, what is going outside can also be controlled easily. So, the number of cases we have now, 151, it’s actually small, and it’s coming only slow.”
He stated that the outbreak could be managed or get even worse, noting that the outcome could be even better if the situation was given the needed attention.
“Because of this strategy, if it weren’t for China’s efforts, the number of cases outside China would have been very much higher.
“And it could still be, but we have the opportunity now to work aggressively to prevent that from happening,” Ghebreyesus warned.
He revealed that the WHO has made several recommendations for all countries to prevent and limit the further spread of the virus.
According to the UN health agency’s boss, there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.
He, therefore, called on all countries to implement decisions that were evidence-based and consistent, saying WHO would provide advice to any nation considering which measures to take.