The death toll for the coronavirus outbreak in China has reportedly soared past 1,000. However, the number of new confirmed cases has dropped. According to international media reports, there were 2,478 new confirmed cases in the mainland on February 10, down from 3,062 on the previous day, bringing the total to about 42,638. It was also the second time in the past two weeks that the authorities recorded a daily drop in new cases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, however, cautioned about the spread of cases outside of China as it could be 'the spark that becomes a bigger fire'. According to reports, another 108 new coronavirus deaths were reported, bringing the total number of people killed in the country to 1,016. There are also nearly 319 cases in 24 other countries and territories, however, only two deaths have been reported outside China so far.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, an advance team of WHO experts have arrived in China on Tuesday. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed that the team is headed by Dr. Bruce Aylward and aims to lay the base work for a bigger international team. The experts will also be working with the Chinese doctors in the mainland.
WHO is also convening a global research and innovation forum to mobilise international action in response to the novel coronavirus. The forum will be held on February 11-12 in Geneva which is being organised in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness. 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, development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, among other innovations.
“WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress,” said Ghebreyesus in a statement.
In order to tackle the spreading virus, WHO stated that the international community has further launched a $675 million preparedness and response plan covering February to April 2020. Earlier, WHO had also warned the international public health authorities that the virus was of a significant threat to the nations outside mainland China and the disease's pandemic nature enforced a global response to the outbreak.
The outbreak started in Wuhan earlier this year and multiple countries have started evacuating their citizens from the country while deciding to restrict the entry of foreigners returning from China. WHO has declared Coronavirus as a 'global public health emergency'.
(With agency inputs)