Coronavirus (now named COVID – 19) continues to claim more lives as the death toll from the infection reached 1355. Most of those who have died have been in the hard-hit Hubei province in China.
In a sign that points to the severity of the Coronavirus, the virus epicentre, Hubei province recorded 242 deaths in a single day. The death toll was the highest since the virus broke into the population in late 2019.
That was not all though. The number of infections surged to 60,000 throughout China. The sudden rise came as authorities changed how they counted infections.
This development came in the wake of China’s President Xi Jinping’s statement that the government had made positive steps in curbing the spread of the infection. However, this ran counter to an official account of a Chinese expert who declared that the Coronavirus would peak this month.
Coronavirus has emerged as one of the deadliest pandemics in recent times. The virus now has been reported in twenty-eight countries. Nonetheless, most of the infections and deaths have been in the Hubei province in China. So far, only two deaths have occurred outside mainland China.
Countries that have recorded the Coronavirus infection so far are –
Mainland China: 44,685
Japan: 28 (plus 175 on a cruise ship off the coast)
Hong Kong: 50
South Korea: 28
United Arab Emirates: 8
Cambodia: 1 India: 3
Sri Lanka: 1
Kenyan students stuck
Even as the virus spreads, Kenyans remain students stuck in their rooms in Wuhan town as they called out for the government to evacuate them. At least 91 Kenyan students are stuck in their rooms after Wuhan went into lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
The association of Kenyan Students in Wuhan wrote to the Foreign Affairs ministry, seeking the country’s intervention.
“To date, the embassy has not responded to our letter nor the raised concerns. We are in total darkness,” reads part of the letter.
“Worst of all, with each passing day the situation in Wuhan gets more unbearable. Some of our students [do not have] food while [others are slipping] into depression due to the fear and uncertainty surrounding this issue.”
To back up their cries, some of the students made impassioned pleas on videos.
However, the Kenyan government responded by stating that they would not evacuate the students as that would risk infection with the Coronavirus.
“China is doing a great job of protecting our students where they are. All [the students] are taken care of and well. We admire what China has been able to do. However, we are preparing for all contingencies.” PS Macharia said in a press conference on the 7th of February.
This is even after other countries evacuated their citizens and quarantined them at the airports.
Experts and funders set COVID-19 research priority
As this happens, WHO has brought together experts and funders who have been meeting to look into the level of knowledge on the COVID-19 research.
The 2-day conference took place in Geneva, Switzerland. The goals for the meeting, convened by the WHO R&D Blueprint sought to look into the history of the Coronavirus and its transmission and accelerate research into it as it was occurring.
Additionally, there are positive developments on treating the virus, with the US successfully treating their first case.