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Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll from surpasses 2,600 in China

BEIJING: The death toll from coronavirus raised to 2,663 in China as another 71 more cases, the lowest daily number of fatalities in over two weeks were reported on Tuesday. 

The National Health Commission also reported 508 new confirmed cases, with all but nine in hard-hit Hubei province.

It is up from Monday’s 409 cases nationwide.

Multiple provinces in China have reported zero new cases for several days in a row now, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying Monday that the coronavirus epidemic has “peaked” in China.

Despite a downward trend in new case numbers, China continues to struggle to resume normal activity after the virus brought the world’s second-largest economy to a standstill.

The country also decided to postpone its annual parliament session for the first time since the Cultural Revolution.

Tens of millions of people remain under lockdown in Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have originated late last year.

A slight easing of the lockdown in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital, was retracted shortly after being announced on Monday.

Outbreaks in prisons and hospitals have also raised further concerns about ineffective containment measures.

The Communist Party’s political and legal affairs commission said Tuesday that 323 coronavirus cases were reported in Hubei prisons by Sunday, including 279 in the Wuhan Women’s Prison.

WHO warns of pandemic risk after virus peaks 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the peak in China occurred between January 23 and February 2 and the number of new cases there “has been declining steadily since then”.

He however, insisted the virus could still be contained, praising China´s drastic quarantine measures in several cities for helping to prevent an even bigger spread.

“For the moment we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale deaths,” Tedros told reporters in Geneva.

He added, however, that countries should be “doing everything we can to prepare for a potential pandemic.”

The term “pandemic” is used to describe an illness that spreads across numerous communities.

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