Coronavirus update 7 Feb: Doctor who warned the world about this virus dies, death toll at 636 and more
Li Wenliang, the doctor who first raised the alarm about a new kind of virus infecting people in Wuhan, died of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection late last night. Dr Li was 34 years old.
An outpouring of grief and anger erupted on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, in response to his death. Health officials said that all possible efforts were made to save Dr Li, but they were unsuccessful. At 34, Dr Li was much younger than the average age of around 50 of those who have died from the viral infection.
At least 636 2019-nCoV linked deaths have now been reported, 70 of which happened in the last 24 hours. Infections have climbed to over 30,000 and spread across 27 countries as well. So far, just over 200 cases have been reported outside of China and its provinces. However, health officials have warned that these figures are probably underreported.
In Hubei, the district in which Wuhan lies, Chinese officials have been asked to round up anyone suspected of having the infection and place them in quarantine. Officials will go door to door and check the temperature of the residents. While these measures are being taken to dampen the spread of the disease, reports on social media have suggested that the quarantine areas lack basic facilities: there are electricity shortages and the nights get cold. Further, there is a shortage of medical supplies and personnel.
In India, the three confirmed cases in Kerala are reportedly stable. Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja yesterday updated the media about the situation in her state: 263 suspected samples have been sent to a special lab in Pune for testing, and out of the 229 tested so far, all have returned negative.
Further, 645 Indians who were evacuated from Wuhan and quarantined in Delhi have all tested negative for the virus.
According to the immigration department, 2,782 people travelled to China on or after 15 January from Delhi. So far, 144 of these people have been traced and have been told to stay at home as a precaution. Efforts are on to trace the others.
Elsewhere in the country, Hyderabad reported 18 new suspected cases. They are being treated at Gandhi Hospital in a separate ward. So far no confirmed cases have emerged from Hyderabad.
Diagnostic tests and foreign funding
World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said that timely diagnosis will greatly aid the fight against the disease. To this end, WHO is shipping 250,000 diagnostic kits to 159 laboratories across the world. Further, WHO will set up diagnostic labs across the world to help in diagnosis as well. The kit can give a result in four hours and each kit can test around 700-800 cases.
The Gates Foundation has pledged $100 million to find a cure for the Wuhan virus infection; $20 million of this will go towards public health infrastructure in Sub Saharan African and South Asia.
The international community, including the WHO, kickstarted the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) which will inject a further $675 million to combat the virus. The objectives of the SPRP include establishing international coordination and operational support and accelerating research and providing technical solutions to fight the outbreak.
For more information, read our article on Coronavirus Infection: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention.
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Updated Date: Feb 07, 2020 13:25:43 IST
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