The balance of the viral pneumonia epidemic in China on Tuesday (28.01.2020) recorded a total of 106 people killed and more than 4,500 infected in the Asian country, while the first case of contagion in Germany and World Health Organization (WHO) raised the threat level of the lethal coronavirus from «moderate» to «high».
The Chinese government reported nearly 1,300 new contagions on Monday night. In Hubei Province (centre), where the epidemic began, health authorities said the virus had caused 25 more deaths and infected 1,771 others, bringing the number of affected patients to more than 4,000 across China.
Officially 24 deaths were reported in Hubei Province, where the virus was first detected in December, and one death in Beijing, the capital. Authorities also announced the dispatch of some 6,000 doctors to the epicentre of the outbreak to try to contain it.
The Chinese government announced the suspension of classes at all colleges and universities in the country. Entire cities in Hubei have also been closed, isolating some 50 million people in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the governments of the United States, Japan, Mongolia, France announced that they are preparing to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, the city hardest hit by the outbreak, and their transfer out of China.
Chinese authorities also recommended Tuesday to their citizens postpone their plans to travel abroad, as part of the battle to curb the epidemic. «Reducing cross-border displacement helps control the epidemic,» said a statement from the National Immigration Administration.
Wuhan Mayor Offers resign
Also, in a rare televised interview last night on the public network CCTV, Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan offered to resign for his decision to close the city to contain the disease.
Zhou acknowledged that it took the local government too long to disclose the information available about the outbreak, responding to criticism slashing on social media about the actions of The Wuhan authorities.
Cases in Germany and Canada
For their part, the German authorities confirmed on Monday the first case of the coronavirus in the country. A man from the Starnberg district of Bavaria «has been placed under medical surveillance and in solitary confinement,» a spokesman for the Ministry of Health announced in a statement.
The patient is «in good condition,» the spokesman said, adding that his family was informed about the symptoms that may occur in case of illness and the hygiene precautions they should take.
Germany thus becomes the second European country to be affected by coronavirus after the three confirmed cases in France on 24 January. The three patients, one in Bordeaux (southwest) and two in Paris, had recently traveled to China.
The German government on Monday urged its citizens to avoid travel to China that are «not indispensable» due to the extension of the epidemic of the new coronavirus, while fear of contagion among Germans has led to an increase in demand for masks pharmacies in the country.
Health authorities in Canada also reported the first case of coronavirus on Monday and said the patient’s wife had also tested positive, although it has not yet been fully confirmed.
The confirmed patient, a 50-year-old man who arrived in Toronto on January 22 from the Chinese city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the epidemic – is being treated in isolation in a hospital. About 20 people are being monitored.
On Monday night, Canada’s Foreign Ministry issued a warning to «avoid all travel» to China’s Hubei Province, which includes Wuhan.
WHO claims risk is «high»
The World Health Organization (WHO) decided to rate the risk of coronavirus in China as «high», having described it as «moderate» until now.
In its last report issued on Monday, WHO stated that its «risk assessment (…) hasn’t changed since the last update (January 22): very high in China, high at the region level and globally.» In previous reports, the UN specialized agency explained that global risk was «moderate.»
Last Thursday, WHO considered it «too soon» to talk about «public health emergency of international scope.» «It is not yet a global health emergency,» but «it could be,» said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who traveled to China.