With some 35,000 stricken within its borders and the death-toll spiraling, a desperate China is finally accepting help in battling the coronavirus — after rebuffing offers from the US and others for weeks.
China has agreed to let the World Health Organization form an international team of experts that will travel to the mainland to study the virus and seek solutions, a US embassy spokesman told Reuters on Saturday.
Infectious disease experts from the United States will play a major role.
“These US experts have extensive experience working with the World Health Organization on a range of infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics, including Ebola, avian influenza and SARS,” the spokesman added.
China’s foreign ministry has confirmed Saturday that its own National Health Commission was working on arrangements for the WHO-led group’s arrival, scheduled to begin Monday or Tuesday.
The sooner the better, the latest grim statistics indicate.
By Saturday night, the coronavirus had killed 725 people, nearly all of them in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
One of those victims was of a 60-year-old American citizen who either lived in China or was visiting there, and who died Thursday in a hospital in the city of Wuhan, according to embassy officials, who released no further information. Reportedly, the victim was a woman with underlying health problems.
That patient is the first American to have died from the virus; an additional 12 confirmed coronavirus patients are being treated in California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois and Massachusetts.
In New York state, six potentially infected patients are awaiting test results, two of them in New York City.
Meanwhile, 11 Brits staying at a ski resort in the French Alps were in hospitalized isolation Saturday after five were diagnosed with the virus.
Chinese authorities are growing so desperate that they’re banning over-the-counter flu remedies to force the sick to see a doctor.
Patients are being dragged from their homes and to the hospital by force. A video reportedly shot in Hubei province city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, shows hazmat suit-clad officials dragging three people from an apartment, the Daily Mail reported.
The video follows reports that the communist regime is rounding up the infected in Wuhan and taking them to internment camps to keep the virus from spreading.
The American’s death was reported in China a few hours after the last of the State Department’s chartered flights evacuating Americans left the country.
Five people from that flight were taken to an undisclosed hospital in Northern California after falling ill with a fever. They are in isolation while they are tested for the virus.
The virus has spread to 27 other countries beyond China, almost entirely by sick people traveling from Hubei province, officials have said. It’s spreading geometrically, with each infected person passing the virus on to an average of three or four other people.
An estimated two or three out of every 100 people who are infected has died of the illness, with older patients suffering from a pre-existing condition being most at risk of dying.
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