Coronavirus death toll climbs to 2,835
Beijing, Mar 01: Forty seven more people have died of the deadly coronavirus, rasing the death toll in the country to 2,835 while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 79,251, Chinese health officials said on Saturday.
China's National Health Commission (NHC) in its daily report on Saturday said it received reports of 427 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection and 47 deaths on Friday.
Among the deaths reported, 45 were from the epicentre of the virus Hubei Province, one in Beijing and Henan respectively, it said.
The overall confirmed cases on the mainland have reached 79,251 by the end of Friday, and 2,835 people have died of the disease, it said.
The virus, though slowing down its virulence, continued to affect more people as another 248 new suspected cases were reported taking the total to 1,418 people.
Also on Friday, 2,885 people were discharged from the hospitals after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 288 to 7,664, the NHC said.
A total of 39,002 people have been discharged from the hospitals after the recovery.
By the end of Friday, 94 confirmed cases, including two deaths, have been reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 34 in Taiwan, including one death.
Meanwhile, a senior World Health Organisation (WHO) expert said in Geneva on Friday that it is unhelpful to declare a pandemic when people are still trying to contain COVID-19, although the WHO has raised the epidemic risk alert to the highest level.
The WHO revised on Friday the risk assessment of the COVID-19 from "high" to "very high" at global level, as an increasing number of cases in more countries were reported over the last few days.
"A Pandemic is a unique situation, in which all citizens on the planet will likely be exposed to a virus within a defined period of time," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme as saying.
However, in the case of COVID-19, it has been proved that the course of the epidemic can be significantly altered through containment measures and robust public health response, the expert noted.
The word "pandemic" is "colloquial," Ryan said, appealing for actions that go beyond colloquial terms.
The existing data do not support the concept of a pandemic so far, he said, highlighting that China has clearly shown that it is not necessarily the natural outcome of the COVID-19 epidemic if indispensable responses are made quickly.