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The Coronavirus has infected tens of thousands of people already, as the World Health Organization (WHO) mulls whether or not to declare this illness an international crisis.
Over the last 48 hours, the death toll from the Coronavirus has nearly doubled in China, with another 25 people reported dead in the past 24 hours alone. According to the Chinese authorities, the death toll from the Coronavirus has now reached a 81 after two dozen people succumbed to the illness overnight.
Due to this death toll, the Chinese authorities have announced the extension of the Lunar New Year holiday, while more big businesses shut down or told their staff to work from home in an effort to curb the spread of this virus.
The Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited the city of Wuhan this week, the epicenter of the outbreak, as the central government stepped up its response while city authorities faced growing accusations from the public of mismanagement and a failure to respond to the outbreak in time.
The recent spread of this virus has also had a major impact on the Chinese economy as shares tumbled on Monday, with Japan’s Nikkei average sliding 2.0%, its biggest one-day fall in five months, as investors grew anxious. Demand spiked for safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen and Treasury notes.
The total number of confirmed cases in China rose about 30% from the previous day, to 2,744, with about half in the central province of Hubei, the capital of which is Wuhan. But some experts suspect the number of infected people is much higher.
As worry grew around the world, Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, which has had eight confirmed cases, banned entry to people who had visited Hubei in the past 14 days. The ban did not cover Hong Kong residents.
People from Hubei have come under scrutiny within mainland China as well, with many people facing suspicion from officials about their recent travels.
“Hubei people are getting discriminated against,” a Wuhan resident complained on the Weibo social media platform.
The number of deaths from the virus in Hubei climbed to 76 from 56, health officials said, with five deaths elsewhere in China.
While a small number of cases linked to people who traveled from Wuhan have been confirmed in more than 10 countries, including Thailand, France, Japan and the United States, no deaths have been reported elsewhere.