China virus toll reaches 1,765, authorities say outbreak being controlled

Nurses in protective suits treat a patient in the intensive care unit at Ditan Hospital in Beijing. (AP pic)

BEIJING: The death toll from China’s new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,700 on Monday after 100 more people died in hard-hit Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

In its daily update, the province’s health commission also reported 1,933 new cases.

At least 70,400 people have now been infected nationwide.

Most are in Hubei, where the virus first emerged in December before spiralling into a nationwide epidemic.

The number of new cases in the province had been declining since a large spike last week when officials changed their criteria for counting cases to include people diagnosed through lung imaging.

Monday’s figures were around 100 higher than those on Sunday but still sharply down on those from Friday and Saturday.

Outside of hardest-hit Hubei, the number of new cases has been declining and a spokesman for China’s national health authority said Sunday that the slowing figures were a sign the outbreak was being controlled.

However, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned it is “impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take”.

International experts have arrived in Beijing and begun meeting with their Chinese counterparts over the epidemic, Tedros said on Twitter.