The outbreak of a mysterious new virus is rapidly spreading, the Chinese authorities said on Tuesday, as the official account of known cases jumped nearly 60 percent overnight and the death toll exceeded 100 for the first time
China said on Tuesday that 106 people had died from the coronavirus that is believed to have originated in the central city of Wuhan and which is spreading across the country.
The previous death toll on Monday stood at 81.
The number of confirmed cases increased from 2,835 on Monday to 4,515 on Tuesday, according to the National Health Commission.
The youngest confirmed case is a 9-month-old girl in Beijing.
Most of the cases have been confirmed in the central Chinese province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, where several cities, including Wuhan, have been placed under a veritable lockdown. Of the total cases, 2,714 are in Hubei.
Thailand has reported 14 cases of infection; Hong Kong has eight; the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five each; Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; France has three; Canada and Vietnam have two; and Nepal, Cambodia and Germany each have one.
Despite having dealt with the SARS coronavirus nearly two decades ago, many Chinese hospitals in smaller cities are not fully prepared to deal with a major outbreak like the current virus.
In the absence of proper equipment, some medical workers have resorted to cutting plastic folders to jury-rig goggles.
With medical facilities in short supply, the local government has also pledged to build a new 1,000-bed hospital in 10 days, and vowed that another new 1,300-bed hospital would be ready by the middle of next month.
It is taking a page out of the government’s playbook during SARS, when it built a new hospital in Beijing in just a week.