Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll mounted to 41 in China, France-Australia also confirm first cases

The death toll due to the new coronavirus outbreak mounted to 41 in China. The deadly virus spread has now infected more than 1,000 people globally, highlighting the challenges for health authorities around the world working to prevent a global pandemic.

The Health Commission of Hubei Province said in a statement published early Saturday that 180 new cases had been reported by the end of Friday, putting the total number of confirmed patients in the province at 752.

Just three of the 41 deaths took place outside China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. This is nearly a 60 % jump from the previous death toll, that was 26.

Thirteen cities in China are currently under lockdown as the deadly virus continues to spread across the country and overseas. Malaysia on Saturday said it had confirmed three cases of coronavirus infection, the first in the Southeast Asian country. Late Friday, France health ministry announced two cases of the deadly new coronavirus from China, the first cases in Europe. The minister had said she expects more cases.

The vast majority of the cases and all of the 41 confirmed deaths to date have been in China, but the virus has also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, France and the United States. Thailand has five cases, Singapore and Taiwan three, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and the United States have each reported two cases, and Nepal one.

Meanwhile, a total of 11 people have been kept under observation for possible exposure to novel coronavirus infection- three in Mumbai, seven in Kerala and one in Hyderabad. Out of these 11, four persons, who returned from China, tested negative, the Union Health ministry had said on Friday.

Meanwhile Australia also confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus on Saturday in the state of Victoria, while the national government urged people not to travel to Hubei province in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

The World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus an emergency in China this week but stopped short of declaring it of international concern. The virus continues to spread globally, however: French authorities reported Europe’s first confirmed cases on Friday evening.

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