File photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press. File photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.

China virus death toll passes 1,600, WHO warns

Sun, Feb. 16, 2020
CAIRO – 16 February 2020: The number of new cases from China's coronavirus epidemic dropped on Sunday, while the death toll jumped to 1,665.

Tedros Adhanom, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief has warned it was "impossible" to predict how the outbreak would develop.

“With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” Adhanom said in Geneva.

Global concern remains high about the spread of the virus, which first emerged in China's central Hubei province in December, with the first death outside Asia reported in France this weekend, according to AFP.

The death toll jumped after 142 more people died from the virus. More than 68,000 people have now been infected, however, the number of new cases of the COVID-19 strain continued to decline.

In hardest-hit Hubei, the number of new cases slowed for a third consecutive day and at 139, the number of deaths was level with Saturday's toll.

"We ask all governments, companies, and news organizations to work with us to sound the appropriate level of alarm without fanning the flames of hysteria," Adhanom added, speaking at the Munich Security Conference.

"China has bought the world time. We don't know how much time."

The UN health body has asked China for more details on how diagnoses are being made.

An international team of WHO experts will arrive in Beijing this weekend for a joint mission with Chinese counterparts.
 
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