[New Zealand Herald] Coronavirus outbreak: Cases pass 69000
A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 69,000 people globally.
The World Health Organisation has named the illness COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.
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China reported 143 virus deaths and a dip in new cases on Saturday while the head of the World Health Organisation praised the country's efforts to contain the new disease, saying they have "bought the world time" and that other nations must make the most of it.
France, meanwhile, reported Europe's first death from the new virus, a Chinese tourist from Hubei province, where the disease emerged in December. The United States was preparing to fly home American passengers quarantined aboard a cruise ship in Japan.
The latest figures reported by each government's health authority, as of Sunday in Beijing:
- Mainland China: 1665 deaths among 68,500 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei
- Hong Kong: 57 cases, 1 death
- Macao: 10 cases
- Japan: 413 cases, including 355 from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, 1 death
- Singapore: 75 cases
- Thailand: 34
- South Korea: 29
- Malaysia: 22
- Taiwan: 20 cases, 1 death
- Vietnam: 16 cases
- Germany: 16
- United States: 15 cases; separately, 1 U.S. citizen died in China
- Australia: 14 cases
- France: 12 cases, 1 death
- United Kingdom: 9 cases
- United Arab Emirates: 8
- Canada: 8
- Philippines: 3 cases, 1 death
- India: 3 cases
- Italy: 3
- Russia: 2
- Spain: 2
- Belgium: 1
- Nepal: 1
- Sri Lanka: 1
- Sweden: 1
- Cambodia: 1
- Finland: 1
- Egypt: 1
Numbers of new cases have fluctuated, fueling both optimism the disease might be under control and warnings that such hopes are premature.
The UN health agency's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged governments to step up their efforts to prepare for the virus, saying "it's impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take".
Tedros told a gathering of international foreign and security policy leaders in Germany on Saturday that WHO is encouraged there has not yet been widespread transmission outside China and that "the steps China has taken to contain the outbreak at its source appear to have bought the world time".
"We're encouraged that an international team of experts is now on the ground working closely with Chinese counterparts to understand the outbreak," Tedros told the Munich Security Conference.
But he said the agency is "concerned by the continued increase in the number of cases in China," and by reports about the number of health workers who have been infected or died.
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