Coronavirus: Death toll jumps to 170; Evacuations underway
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Coronavirus: Death toll jumps to 170; Evacuations speed up

30 Jan 2020 (Last Updated February 13th, 2020 10:37)

The new Wuhan coronavirus has led to 170 deaths as of the end of 29 January 2020, with 7,783 infected cases reported by Chinese officials.

Coronavirus: Death toll jumps to 170; Evacuations speed up
Colourised scanning electron micrograph of MERS coronavirus particles. Credit: NIAID.

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Coronavirus timeline of events and latest updates

The new Wuhan coronavirus has led to 170 deaths as of the end of 29 January 2020, with more than 7,700 infected cases confirmed by Chinese officials.

China’s National Health Commission said that the epidemic may reach its peak in the next seven to ten days as predicted by the Chinese Academy of Engineering member and respiratory diseases expert Zhong Nanshan.

Nanshan’s estimates state that the rise in the number of infections may slowdown once the outbreak reaches its peak. Furthermore, life-supporting technologies are expected to help to control the death rate further.

Coronavirus evacuations rise

Several countries, such as the US and Japan, have evacuated some of their citizens from the stricken city, Wuhan. Others, including Australia, New Zealand, European Union, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and India, are expediting preparations to vacate their respective nationals.

Australia is still awaiting formal approval from the Chinese government to airlift its citizens from Wuhan city. Once permission is obtained, Australia plans to quarantine evacuees at the Christmas Island detention centre for up to 14 days for observation and screening.

A US flight carrying 195 Americans has landed in Riverside, California, on Wednesday, while Japan’s flight that arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday brought 206 nationals back home.

US officials say that none of its 195 citizens returning from China displayed coronavirus symptoms but will be under strict medical observation as a precaution.

The Japanese government is planning to send two more flights as 440 more citizens intend to return to Japan. Three Japanese nationals who returned from China have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising the number of cases in Japan to 11.

WHO Emergency Committee to meet on coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee is scheduled to meet today to determine if the coronavirus outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

Following the meeting, the World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will make the committee’s decision public along with recommendations to manage the epidemic.

Read death toll update of 29 January here.