China virus death toll jumps to 41, cases soar to nearly 1,300

WUHAN, China – A deadly viral outbreak in China has now killed 41 people, while the number of infected cases has soared to nearly 1,300, authorities said Saturday, January 25.

All of the new deaths took place in the provincial capital of Wuhan, the city of 11 million where the deadly respiratory contagion first emerged, the Hubei Health Commission said.

At least 444 new cases of the virus have been found, raising the total number to 1,287, the National Health Commission said in a separate statement.

The disease has spread to 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

Wuhan and 13 other cities in the province have been locked down in an unprecedented quarantine effort aimed at containing the deadly respiratory contagion, which has spread nationwide and to several other countries.

The Hubei Health Commission also reported 180 new cases overall in the province, 77 of them in Wuhan  but the bulk of the rest spread out across the locked-down smaller cities. There are now 729 cases in Hubei alone.

Several of those cities were reporting their first cases of the pathogen – 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – the commission said. (READ: ’Novel coronavirus’ or 2019 nCoV: What we know so far)

Those numbers will add to the 830 confirmed cases of infection nationwide, which was reported in the central government's latest tally released on Friday, January 24.

The previously unknown virus has caused global concern because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. (READ: What we learned from SARS, according to ex-DOH chief Manuel Dayrit)

It also has struck at possibly the worst time for China, when hundreds of millions of people are travelling across the country or overseas to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday, China's most important festival. – Rappler.com