Beijing / Geneva: New coronavirus cases in the Chinese province at the epicenter of the outbreak fell for a second day in a row, but deaths increased after the World Health Organization warned that there was insufficient data to know if the Epidemic has slowed down.
Hubei reported 1,693 new cases on Tuesday, compared to 1,807 the previous day and the lowest in the province since February 11. However, the number of deaths increased by 132 compared to 93 the previous day. The latest figures bring the total number of cases in China to over 74,000 with approximately 2,000 deaths.
The head of a leading hospital in China's central city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, died of the disease and has become one of the best-known victims since the novel virus first appeared in late last year.
To illustrate the impact of the outbreak on global growth and corporate earnings, oil prices fell and stock markets fell after Apple Inc issued a sales warning about the disruption that causes the disease to global supply chains.
The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Chinese data "seem to show a decline in new cases", but any obvious trend "needs to be interpreted very carefully".
Outside of China, there were 827 cases of the disease known as COVID-19 and five deaths, according to a Reuters count based on official statements. More than half of these cases were on a cruise ship that was quarantined off Japan.
Tedros said there have been 92 cases of human spread of the coronavirus in 12 countries outside of China.
"We haven't seen any persistent local corona virus transmission, except in certain circumstances, such as the Diamond Princess cruise ship," he said.
However, Russia did not take any risks. As of Thursday, the entry of many Chinese citizens will be suspended.
According to the WHO, 40 countries in Africa and 29 in America should be able to prove COVID-19 by the end of this week.
"Many of these countries have sent samples to other countries for testing and waited several days for results. Now they can do it themselves within 24 to 48 hours," said Tedros.
According to China, figures suggesting that new cases have slowed down in recent days show that aggressive steps to curb travel and trade slow the spread of the disease beyond central Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan.
WHO Ryan Mike said China had been successful in first extinguishing the fire in Hubei and ensuring that people returning to Beijing from the New Year holidays were monitored.
"At the moment, the strategic and tactical approach in China is the right one," said Ryan
The numbers seem encouraging, said Mark Woolhouse, professor of epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, who described himself as cautious.
Chinese state television said Liu Zhiming, director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, died on Tuesday as the seventh health worker. The hospital was only intended for the treatment of virus-infected patients.
Despite global concerns about the economic impact of the disease, China's ambassador to the European Union said Tuesday that it was "limited, short-term, and manageable" and that Beijing had sufficient resources to intervene when needed.
Chinese state television quoted President Xi Jinping as saying that despite the epidemic, China could still achieve its 2020 economic growth target.
Economists are warning of possible mass layoffs in China later this year if the virus is not soon contained.
"The employment situation is okay in the first quarter, but if the virus is not included by the end of March, we will see a large round of layoffs starting in the second quarter," said Dan Wang, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The loss of jobs could be up to 4.5 million, he predicted.
The largest British automaker, Jaguar Land Rover, has flown Chinese parts to the UK in suitcases to keep production running and could go out after two weeks because of the corona virus.
Components made in China are used in millions of vehicles that are assembled worldwide. The province of Hubei is an important hub for the manufacture and shipping of vehicle parts.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the economy is in an emergency and needs to be stimulated because the epidemic has disrupted demand for South Korean goods.
Singapore announced a $ 4.5 billion financial package to curb the city-state outbreak and manage its economic impact.
Japan, where the economy is already shrinking and the epidemic is causing fears of recession, has caused the spread of the Tokyo virus to limit public masses, while some companies tell employees to work from home.