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5 Feb, 2020 22:26

China coronavirus outbreak epicenter reports 70 more deaths as WHO says ‘no effective therapeutics’ yet

China coronavirus outbreak epicenter reports 70 more deaths as WHO says ‘no effective therapeutics’ yet

The lethal coronavirus sweeping China and beyond has claimed 70 more lives in Hubei province, the epicenter of the illness, bringing the fatality count to 564 as the total number of confirmed cases nears 28,000 worldwide.

As the disease and death tolls climb, the World Health Organization on Wednesday downplayed reports of breakthrough treatments for the novel coronavirus – which hit the Chinese city of Wuhan last December and has since spread to at least 25 other countries – warning there were yet “no known effective therapeutics.”

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With over 27,600 confirmed cases total – the majority of them in Hubei – China continues to expand its quarantine efforts, with Shanghai announcing that it would suspend all public sporting events in hopes of preventing further transmission of the illness. To date, the Chinese government has locked down dozens of cities as part of the quarantine measures, placing travel restrictions on tens of millions of citizens across several provinces.

Hong Kong, where some 21 infections and one death have been confirmed, has also stepped up travel restrictions, imposing a 14-day quarantine on anyone arriving from the Mainland and shutting down two cruise ship terminals after thousands of passengers and crew members aboard one vessel docked at the territory were confined to the ship for health screenings. Three people on board tested positive for the virus. Taiwan, too, has imposed similar travel restrictions on the Mainland.

The European Union, meanwhile, may also be mulling more aggressive measures, with Germany’s Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, stating “It makes no sense that a single country takes measures on a continent with border-free travel between most nations” during a meeting with his French counterpart on Wednesday. To date, a number of European countries have halted all flights from China and urged citizens not to travel there, including Finland, France and Italy.

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