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February 14, 2020

242 new deaths reported as China death toll touches 1,367

Top Story

February 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD/BEIJING: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has confirmed that four Pakistani students that had developed coronavirus disease in China were fully recovered now. While 242 new deaths were reported as death toll reached to 1,377 and nearly 60,000 were infected with the virus.

In a statement Dr Zafar Mirza said that after recovery from the disease, The Pakistanis had been discharged from the hospital in China, He added that 98% confirmed coronavirus patients were fully recovered.

He said some people were under observation for the virus across Pakistan. But all of their tests came negative, he added. He said the government had reviewed the situation in the provinces and closely working with them to provide all assistance.

Dr Zafar Mirza said medical experts’ teams were present at the airports to receive and observe the passengers from China and not a single suspected case was found out yet.

He said that the government had taken all possible measures to protect citizens from coronavirus and its spread in the country. He added there was no coronavirus patient in the country. He said that the government had adopted special measures at all airports of the country while in early days, all flights from China were suspended.

He added now flights from China started arriving in Pakistan where all preventive measures had been adopted. He said that instructions had been issued to all major hospitals to make arrangements to receive the possible cases and provide them necessary care.

Dr Mirza said that he was personally monitoring the situation and meeting every 48 hours with heads of hospitals, health institutions and all relevant departments to review the situation.

China´s official death toll from the new coronavirus spiked dramatically on Thursday after authorities changed their counting methods, fuelling concern the epidemic is far worse than being reported.

As the figures soared in China, a troubling new front opened abroad as neighbouring Vietnam placed 10,000 people under quarantine after six COVID-19 cases were discovered in a cluster of villages — the first such lockdown overseas.

Japan also saw its first death of an infected person on Thursday — a woman in her 80s, according to the country´s health minister — making it the third outside mainland China after the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Under criticism at home over the handling of the crisis, China´s Communist Party sacked two top-ranking officials in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

The developments came hours after President Xi Jinping claimed “positive results” from efforts to contain an epidemic that has now officially killed 1,367 people and infected nearly 60,000. But the World Health Organization warned it was too soon to declare victory.

“I think it´s way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now,” said Michael Ryan, head of the WHO´s health emergencies programme.

In Hubei and its capital Wuhan, where tens of millions of people are trapped as part of an unprecedented quarantine effort, 242 new deaths were reported on Thursday.

Another 14,840 people were confirmed to be infected in Hubei alone, with the new cases and deaths by far the biggest one-day increases since the crisis began.

Outside Hubei, there were 12 more deaths but the number of new cases fell for a ninth day in a row, with 312 extra patients. Hubei authorities said the increases were because they had broadened their definition for infection to include people “clinically diagnosed” via lung imaging.

Up until now, they had solely confirmed cases with a more sophisticated laboratory test. Health officials said they looked into past suspected cases and revised their diagnoses, suggesting older cases were also included in Thursday´s numbers.

China had been praised by the WHO for its transparent handling of the outbreak, in contrast to the way it concealed the extent of the deadly SARS virus epidemic in 2002-2003.

But it has faced continued scepticism among the global public, with fears that there may be similarities to the way it dealt with SARS. On Thursday, the leaders of Hubei and Wuhan were sacked, the highest-profile political casualties of the crisis.