International experts dispatched to Beijing by WHO have started talking with their Chinese counterparts. “We look forward to this important and vital collaboration contributing to global knowledge of the # COVID19 epidemic,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Sunday evening.
The meeting comes as the toll from the Covid-19 viral pneumonia epidemic has further increased in mainland China, with 1,770 dead now, mostly in central Hubei province, according to official figures released Monday.
This figure confirms a slowdown in the daily number of new deaths (105 Monday against 142 Sunday and 143 Saturday). In addition, the number of new cases recorded outside Hubei was only 115 on Monday, compared to nearly 450 a week earlier.
A senior Chinese official estimated that his country was in the process of controlling the epidemic: “We can already see the effect of measures to control and prevent the epidemic in different parts of the country”, welcomed the door – Word from the Chinese Ministry of Health, Mi Feng.
Outside mainland China where at least 70,500 people have been infected, nearly 600 cases of contamination by the coronavirus epidemic have been confirmed in around 30 countries around the world.
Visiting Pakistan, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was confident that “the gigantic effort” made by China “will allow the progressive reduction of the disease”.
But the head of the WHO for his part warned that it was “impossible to predict which direction the epidemic will take”.
“We ask all governments, all societies and all news organizations to work with us to raise the appropriate level of alarm without blowing the embers of hysteria,” he told the conference. Munich on Security.
– First death in Taiwan –
At the center of the crisis, Hubei province, where 56 million people have been cut off from the world since January 23, has further restricted the freedom of movement of its citizens far beyond its capital Wuhan.
Villages and residential cities are now subject to “strict closed management” 24 hours a day, which means that residents are no longer expected to leave their homes until further notice.
Purchases and distribution of food and medicine can be done “centrally,” said a provincial directive released Sunday.
In the rest of the world, the epidemic keeps the planet alert. A first death outside Asia – an 80-year-old Chinese tourist hospitalized in France – and a first case on the African continent – in Egypt – have been recorded in recent days. Taiwan also announced its first death on Sunday, a 61-year-old taxi driver.
The main source of infection outside of China remains the cruise ship Diamond Princess, under quarantine in Japan: 355 cases of contamination have been confirmed there, including 70 new cases announced on Sunday.
Several countries – Canada, United States, but also Hong Kong, nearly a thousand passengers between them – have decided to quickly evacuate their nationals, stranded in the quarantined boat since February 3. But the 3,711 people initially on board have not yet all undergone the examinations making it possible to establish their possible contamination.
The quarantined Americans were evacuated from the boat at dawn Monday. Some of them will be transported to a military base in California and others in Texas.
– Theft of toilet paper –
In China, after dismissing the top political officials in Hubei and Wuhan on Friday, the communist regime continued the movement on Sunday with the announcement of sanctions against lower ranking senior officials.
“When a crisis of this magnitude occurs, it takes political importance, because the international image of China and the legitimacy of the (Communist) Party are at stake,” said Sinologist Zhou Xun of the University of Essex (England).
The regime of President Xi Jinping faces an unprecedented wave of dissatisfaction for having delayed reacting to the epidemic. Anger stirred up by the death at the beginning of the month of a young doctor from Wuhan who had been summoned by the police for having alerted in December about the appearance of the virus.
“In general, since Mao, the state has done very little for public health,” said Ms. Zhou. “The result is that the health system is very weak, ineffective, expensive and chaotic.”
In Hong Kong, a territory that has barricaded itself to protect itself from the epidemic for ten days, consumers are robbing supermarkets to store food and cleaning products for fear of shortages, even if the authorities say that the chain d supply continues to operate normally.
On Monday, according to Hong Kong police, a truck driver was robbed in front of a supermarket in the district of Mong Kok by three individuals armed with knives who stole from him a large stock of toilet paper rolls, a product which has become difficult to find in shops. rays.