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China’s coronavirus death toll rises to 1,380

Hits 1,700 health workers, and takes total number of infected to 63,851


The new coronavirus has infected 1,700 Chinese health workers and killed six, authorities said on Friday, as businesses struggled to balance containment measures after returning from an extended holiday break.

Authorities reported 5,090 new cases in mainland China, including more than 120 deaths, taking the total number of infected to 63,851, and the number of deaths from the disease, now labelled Covid-19, to 1,380.

“The duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy; their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high,” Zeng Yixin, Vice-Minister of the National Health Commission, told a news conference.

Back at work

China’s factories and offices are only slowly creaking back into life after Lunar New Year holidays that were extended by 10 days in a move to rein in the virus, which emerged in December in Wuhan, capital of the province of Hubei.

The world’s second-largest economy is in a flux with a staggering 500 million people affected by travel restrictions to contain the new virus.

The new national infection figures give no sign that the outbreak is nearing a peak, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, an infectious diseases expert at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

In cities such as Beijing, and the business hub of Shanghai, streets and subways remain largely deserted with most shops and restaurants empty or shut.

While the vast majority of infections and deaths have been in China, there have been nearly 450 cases in some 24 countries outside mainland China, and three deaths.

With thousands of flights to and from China cancelled, the International Civil Aviation Organization forecast that global airline revenue could fall by $4-5 billion in the first quarter.

No Olympics cancellation

But the WHO has told the International Olympic Committee there is no cause to cancel or relocate the Tokyo Olympics, which start in July, the head of the IOC's Coordination Commission said.