Beijing, March 7 (IANS) The deadly novel coronavirus has now infected more than 100,000 people around the world, but in mainland China, the country of the virus’s origin, the number of new cases fell on Saturday to just 99, the first time since January 18 that fewer than 100 cases were recorded.
China’s National Health Commission said 74 of the new infections were reported in Hubei’s provincial capital Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.
This is the second day there were no further cases elsewhere in Hubei province where the outbreak began.
There were 28 new deaths – all in Hubei, with 21 in Wuhan – bringing the total number of fatalities on the mainland to 3,070, with a total of 80,651 infections.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countriesto make the fight against the coronavirus outbreak their “highest priority”.
“As cases increase, we are continuing to recommend that all countries make containment their highest priority,” Efe news quoted WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying at a daily briefing.
Mike Ryan, Executive director of WHO’s health emergencies programme, called for caution against the assumption, which has been proposed by some scientists, that COVID-19 would subside in the summer like a seasonal flu.
“We have to assume the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread,” the SCMP quoted Ryan as saying in Geneva on Friday.
“It’s a false hope to say, yes, that it will disappear like the flu… We can’t make that assumption. And there is no evidence.”
As of Saturday, the total number of coronavirus cases around the world was 101,492, with 3,485 deaths.
According to figures released by the SCMP on Saturday, the countries which have registered coronavirus cases besides China are South Korea (6,767), Iran (4,747), Italy (4,636), Japan (1,103, including 696 on Diamond Princess), Germany (639), France (423), Spain (374), the US (329), Switzerland (181), the UK (163), Singapore (130), Belgium (109), Hong Kong (107), Sweden (101), Norway (86), Malaysia (83), Netherlands (82), Australia (63), Kuwait (58), Bahrain (56), Austria (55), Canada (51), Thailand (47), Taiwan (45), the UAE (45), Greece (32), India (31), Iraq (26), Iceland (26), San Marino (23), Denmark (18), Algeria (17), Vietnam (16), Oman (16), Lebanon (16), Israel (15), Egypt (15), Ireland (13), Ecuador (13), Finland (12), Czech Republic (12), Macau (10), Croatia (10), Portugal (nine), Georgia (nine), Brazil (eight), Qatar (eight), Palestine (seven), Romania (six), Slovenia (six), Belarus (six), Pakistan (six), Chile (five), Philippines (five), Mexico (five), New Zealand (five), Russia (four), Indonesia (four), Senegal (four), Azerbaijan (three), Hungary (three), Estonia (three), Dominican Republic (two), Bosnia and Herzegovina (two), and one each in Colombia, Nigeria, Poland, Nepal, Morocco, Monaco, Luxembourg, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Serbia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, Latvia, Andorra, North Macedonia, Bhutan, Jordan, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Armenia, Argentina, Vatican City and South Africa.
Deaths outside China were reported in Italy (197), Iran (124), South Korea (44), the US (15), Japan (12), France (seven), Spain (five), Iraq (two), Australia (two), the UK (two), Hong Kong (two), Switzerland (one), the Netherlands (one), Thailand (one), Taiwan (one) and PAhilippines (one).