The coronavirus death toll in China reached 908 on Sunday with 3,062 additional cases confirmed by health authorities taking the overall number of cases to 40,171. China’s National Health Commission said it confirmed the new cases and 97 additional deaths mostly in Hubei province, where the city of Wuhan lies.
Ninety-one deaths were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, two in Anhui, and one each in Heilongjiang, Jiangxi, Hainan and Gansu, according to the commission. On Sunday, as many as 3,281 patients have been discharged from hospital after recovery. So far, over 630 people, including 356 in Hubei, have been discharged, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the commission as saying.
The death toll from the viral epidemic crossed that of the 2002-2003 SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak over the weekend. It had killed 774 people.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation informed on Monday that it is convening a global research and innovation forum to mobilize international action in response to the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The forum, to be held on February 11-12 in Geneva, is organized in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness.
"Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “There are questions we need answers to, and the tools we need to be developed as quickly as possible. WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress,” he added.
In the spirit of scientific solidarity, 400 of the world’s leading experts will gather this week at @WHO HQ Geneva to prioritize work on all the tools we need, including rapid diagnostics, a vaccine & effective treatments.https://t.co/NNd359dUdk— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) February 9, 2020
WHO said the forum will bring together key players including leading scientists as well as public health agencies, ministries of health and research funders pursuing 2019-nCoV critical animal health and public health research and the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, among other innovations.
"Participants will discuss several areas of research, including identifying the source of the virus as well as sharing of biological samples and genetic sequences," an official release stated.
(With inputs from agencies) (AP Photo)