mandag 3. februar 2020

Coronavirus: dozens more die in Chinese city at centre of outbreak

Dozens more people have died in the city at the centre of China’s coronavirus outbreak, where hospitals are severely undersupplied and understaffed and residents have described increasingly desperate conditions.

Chinese state media reported 57 new deaths on Monday, all but one in Wuhan, the capital of the central province of Hubei which has been under lockdown for almost two weeks as authorities try to contain the outbreak. The foreign ministry issued an urgent appeal for protective medical equipment as the total number of casualties reached 361, surpassing deaths in mainland China caused by the 2002-03 Sars virus. The number of infections also jumped, passing 17,200.

“What China urgently needs at present are medical masks, protective suits and safety goggles,” the foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing. At full capacity, China’s factories are only able to produce around 20m masks a day, according to the ministry of industry.

Hua also criticised the US, where a ban on people travelling from China went into effect on Sunday. The US and other countries had “overreacted” to the outbreak and Washington had not given China any substantive help, instead only creating and spreading panic, Hua said.