BEIJING – The balance of the epidemic of the new coronavirus exceeded Saturday 1500 deaths in China, and a first case of contamination in Africa was noted in Egypt.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health announced on Friday that it had registered the first case on the African continent. The carrier, who is not Egyptian, was hospitalized in quarantine.
More than 66,000 cases of contamination have now been recorded in China, including at least 1,716 among doctors and nurses working with patients, according to the National Health Commission, which acts as a ministry.
Authorities have revealed that six healthcare workers have died, highlighting the risks they face in overcrowded hospitals.
The vast majority of hospital contaminations took place in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, in central China, and home of this epidemic of viral pneumonia called Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The announcement of the number of hospital infections comes a week after the death, due to the virus, of a doctor who had tried to alert the authorities, but had been reprimanded by the police. His death had provoked anger on social networks.
Due to an influx of patients in Hubei hospitals and a shortage of protective supplies (masks, full suits), some of the healthcare staff find themselves at the mercy of contamination.
“Great test” for China
The Hubei Health Commission announced on Saturday that in the past 24 hours the epidemic has left an additional 139 people dead in the province and that 2,420 new cases of contamination have been detected there. The total number of new cases of contamination in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao) is 2,641. In addition, four deaths have been reported outside of Hubei.
This brings the total number of deaths recorded in mainland China since the start of the epidemic to 1,523 dead.
China accounts for 99.9% of all coronavirus deaths worldwide. So far, Japan and the Philippines are the only other countries that have reported deaths (one each) on their territory.
The fight against the virus is “a great test for the country’s system and governance capacities,” Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged on Friday. The epidemic has revealed “gaps and shortcomings,” he conceded, calling for improvements to the national health system, comments made at a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus appeared in December, and the surrounding province of Hubei remained cut off from the world on Friday by a draconian sanitary cordon in force for more than three weeks.
The two CCP chiefs for Hubei and Wuhan, castigated by public opinion for their handling of the crisis, were dismissed on Thursday.
Elsewhere in the world, the Covid-19 epidemic is keeping authorities on the alert, with several hundred confirmed cases of contamination in twenty states.
People sick in the United States with flu symptoms but screened negative for the disease will be tested for the new coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday
The main source of infection outside of China remains the cruise ship Diamond Princess, in quarantine in Japan near Yokohama: 218 cases of contamination have been confirmed there, including 44 new cases announced on Thursday.
Hundreds of passengers from an American cruise ship, the Westerdam, were able to land in Cambodia on Friday. The boat had wandered at sea for more than 10 days, five Asian ports forbidding it to dock for fear of the coronavirus.