The number of deaths from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China rose by 136, pushing the nationwide death toll to 2,004 as of the end Tuesday, the country’s National Health Commission reported on Wednesday.
At least 132 of the fatalities were from Hubei Province, the epicentre of the epidemic.Nationwide, there had been a further 1,749 new confirmed cases of which 1,693 were from Hubei, bringing the total number of infections across the country to 74,185.
The latest development comes as Russia announced it will suspend entry for Chinese citizens from February 20.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the COVID-19 outbreak – which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province – is not yet out of control, but it has become a “very dangerous situation”.
Here are all the latest updates:
Wednesday, February 19
Hong Kong records second coronavirus death
Hong Kong recorded its second death caused by the new coronavirus on Wednesday, a Princess Margaret Hospital spokeswoman told Reuters.
The 70-year-old man, who had underlying illnesses, was one of the 62 confirmed cases in the Chinese-ruled city.
South Korea reports 10 new cases of coronavirus
South Korea has confirmed about 10 new cases of the coronavirus and will announce the positive test results later on Wednesday, Yonhap news agency reported, citing unnamed health officials.
The new cases are in the city of Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang province, Yonhap said.
An official at South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declined to confirm the Yonhap report.
South Korea has reported 31 cases of coronavirus infections and no deaths as of late Tuesday.
Ukraine plans to evacuate citizens from China
Ukraine is preparing to send a plane to evacuate some 49 of its citizens, as well as up to 25 foreign nationals from China, Health Minister Zoriana Skaletska said.
Any foreigners evacuated will be monitored in Ukraine, she said.
It is not clear when the plane will depart but Skalteska said it was “almost ready”.
Russia to suspend entry for Chinese citizens from Thursday
Russia will suspend entry of Chinese citizens to its territory starting from Thursday, Russian authorities in charge of coronavirus prevention said in a statement.
The suspension will be for Chinese citizens entering Russia for employment, private, educational and tourist purposes.
The suspension will be temporary, the statement said.
China’s EU envoy says economic impact of outbreak ‘manageable’
China’s ambassador to the European Union hub Brussels has said that the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak would be “limited, short-term and manageable” and that Beijing had enough resources to step in if needed.
“With business activity deferred and demand for services reduced, there is some impact on the Chinese economy but it is limited, short term and manageable,” Zhang Ming told a briefing in Brussels.
WHO reports 92 cases of human-to-human transmission outside China
There have been 92 cases of human-to-human spread of the coronavirus in 12 countries outside China but the World Health Organization (WHO) does not have the data to make comparisons with China, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
He added that the WHO had not seen sustained local transmission except in specific cases, such as on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan.
Social media shows support for Chinese nurses
Chinese social media users have been showing their support for the mostly female nurses whose faces have been trending online in recent days.
Many of the women have deep lines on their faces from where surgical masks have dug into their skin. Some hospital staff in Wuhan have reportedly been wearing adult nappies to save time normally spent on toilet breaks.
Approximately 500 to leave quarantined Japan ship Wednesday: official
About 500 passengers will leave the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off Japan on Wednesday after testing negative for the new coronavirus that has infected hundreds on board, a health ministry official said.
“The number [who will leave Wednesday] is changing, largely because it is up to passengers [if they get off],” the official told reporters. “But it will be around 500 people.”
Read the updates from Tuesday, February 18 here.