A total of 44 new deaths and 327 confirmed cases were reported today from all over China, far lower than the earlier days
By K J M Varma
FORTY four more people have died of the novel coronavirus in China, taking the death toll in the outbreak to 2,788, Chinese health officials said on Friday, amid growing criticism from experts and the public that the epidemic would have been less severe if the authorities acted when the first confirmed case was reported in December. Among the deaths reported on Thursday, 41 were from the epicentre Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, two in Beijing and one in Xinjiang, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.
A total of 44 new deaths and 327 confirmed cases were reported on Thursday from all over China, far lower than the earlier days, it said. The overall confirmed cases in the mainland have reached 78,824 by the end of Thursday. In all, 2,788 people have died of the disease so far, it said.
As virulence of the disease slowed, criticism of Chinese officials’ attempts to hide the outbreak in its early stage was highlighted by the official media on Thursday in a rare public criticism of the system of secrecy in governance. The outbreak first surfaced in December last year until it became severe by middle of January, becoming a full-fledged epidemic causing massive devastation in the country, a report highlighting the shortcomings was published by the state-run Global Times on Thursday.
While China’s massive response in trying to localise the virus to Hubei province with strong measure like locking over 18 cities including Wuhan with over 50 million people came for praise from the World Health Organisation (WHO), criticism is also growing at home over why it was not nipped in the bud.
‘Umrah’ passengers turned back from Saudi Arabia
NEARLY 128 passengers traveling to Saudi Arabia from various districts of Uttar Pradesh for ‘Umrah’ were turned back from Saudi Arabia which has imposed travel curbs following the coronavirus scare. The passengers who returned to Lucknow late on Thursday evening, created uproar at the Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport demanding to know why they were not informed of the curbs prior to departure.
Umrah, an important religious practice among Muslims, is performed throughout the year in Saudi Arabia. The curbs imposed by the Saudi government do not apply to passengers traveling with employment visa. According to airport officials, the Saudi government did not allow more than 3,000 passengers from more than a dozen flights to reach Jeddah and Madina airport from India. Not only this, the Etihad Airlines plane from Kolkata was also sent back from Dubai.