World Health Organization warns against coronavirus overreaction

Carla Harmon
February 18, 2020

Outside China, cases of new coronavirus have already been registered in more than 20 countries, at least three people have died so far. Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan have each reported one fatality, while France on Saturday announced the first death outside Asia, an elderly Chinese tourist. "About 5% of cases are considered critical with possible multi-organ impairment, septic shock, respiratory failure and, in some cases, death", he said.

Anyone convicted of producing or distributing falsified or substandard medicines amid the coronavirus outbreak could face the death penalty under new legislation in China.

The update raised the number of deaths in mainland China to 1,886 and the total confirmed cases to 72,436.

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The head of a leading hospital in China's central city of Wuhan - the epicentre of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak - has died of the disease, becoming the second prominent Chinese doctor to have succumbed to the pathogen, according to health officials.

The head of a leading hospital in China's central city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, died of the disease on Tuesday, becoming one of the most prominent victims since the disease first appeared at the end of past year. Thirteen who tested positive for the virus were taken to hospitals in California and Nebraska.

Chinese health authorities released a study yesterday on over 70,000 confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases.


The results of the latest study have been published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology.

They found 80.9 percent of infections were in the "mild" category while 13.8 percent were deemed "severe".

Males are more likely to died from the coronavirus than females are.

The WHO stressed that the mortality rate remains relatively low: "This is a very serious outbreak and it has the potential to grow, but we need to balance that in terms of the number of people infected". For people in their 40s it is 0.4 percent, in their 50s it is 1.3 percent, in their 60s it is 3.6 percent and their 70s it is 8.0 percent.

The overall death rate from the virus stood at 2.3 percent.

"It's too early to tell if this reported decline will continue".


"The percentage of severe cases among Wuhan medical staff has gradually decreased from 38.9% at the peak (on Jan 28) to 12.7% in early February", the report said.

Monday's report gives the World Health Organization a clearer picture of where the outbreak is headed, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference.

Zhong was also quoted as saying that human-to-human transmissions in Wuhan have not yet fully stopped.

The largest number of cases outside China is among passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined at a port near Tokyo.

Outside China, there are 827 cases in 26 countries and regions and five deaths, according to a Reuters count based on official statements.


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