China virus death toll rises to 41, more than 1,300 infected worldwide


China said 41 people have now died from a new coronavirus that has infected more than 1,300 people globally, as health authorities around the world scramble to prevent a global pandemic.

The total number of confirmed cases in China now stands at 1,287, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Saturday.

All the latest deaths occurred in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak that has been in virtual quarantine as China scrambles to contain the virus spread. The vast majority of the cases and all of the confirmed deaths to date have been in China, but the virus has also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, France and the United States.

Human-to-human transmission has been observed in the virus, which health authorities believe to have originated in a market in Wuhan that traded illegally in wildlife. Authorities have since imposed similar lockdowns on more than 10 cities near Wuhan as part of the ongoing containment effort.

Hubei's health authority said on Saturday there were 658 patients affected by the virus in medical care, 57 of whom were critically ill.

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