Death toll in China’s coronavirus outbreak rises to 491

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The death toll in China from the novel coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 491, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Feb. 4.

In a statement, the commission said 24,324 confirmed cases have been reported so far and 65 people have died in the last 24 hours.

The number of people under medical observation has risen to 185,555 while the number of those thought to be infected is now 23,260.

The number of those detected with the virus outside China’s mainland has reached 18 in Hong Kong and 10 in Macau. Both are special administrative regions.

The NHC also announced that the bodies of those who died due from the outbreak will be burned in crematorium areas near hospitals.

Tokyo 2020 pledges trouble-free games

The coronavirus outbreak will not disrupt the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, with the year’s leading sports events to be held as planned, said an official on the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The coronavirus has nothing to do with the 2020 Olympics as this outbreak won’t block the games,” IOC Vice President Uğur Erdener from Turkey said.

Erdener said Olympics officials are currently monitoring the situation concerning the outbreak.

Regarding Chinese athletes and coaching staff, Erdener said: “If some are infected, they won’t be allowed [to enter Japan] of course”

Like Turkey, countries are taking necessary screening measures in the arrival areas of their airports, he added.

Turkey has adopted new measures to detect the coronavirus among international passengers and travelers coming from Far East countries and they have been scanned using thermal cameras at Istanbul Airport.

Japan to work to keep virus out

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this week that the government would make utmost efforts to ensure that the outbreak does not trouble the 2020 Olympics.

“We will keep in close contact with everybody, including the International Olympic Committee and the World Health Organization, to take appropriate steps and keep the coronavirus from affecting the Olympics,” Abe said in a parliamentary session.

Meanwhile, Japanese Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said the Olympics’ organizers are not considering cancelling the games.

China halts football matches

Last week, China postponed football matches nationwide due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese Football Association said on its website that it is postponing all domestic games in 2020 to protect the health of fans, clubs, players, coaches, referees and media staff.

The federation said it would continue to cooperate and communicate with national authorities to determine the schedule and fixtures, considering the development of the coronavirus.

China has also delayed its football Supercup following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Chinese football season opener had been scheduled to take place between Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai Shenhua on Feb. 5 in Suzhou, Jiangsu province in eastern China, according to state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN).

“In conformity with the requirements to prevent and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and to avoid crowds gathering, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) has decided to postpone the 2020 CFA Supercup after cautious analysis and assessment,” the football governing body said in a statement cited by the broadcaster.

New dates for the Supercup will be announced later.

Separately, amid concerns over a virus outbreak, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced in January that “after having carefully evaluated developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak and placing as the main priority the safety of the participating players and team delegation members,” the Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament has been moved from Foshan, China to Serbia’s capital Belgrade.

FIBA added that the games will be played on the previously announced dates of Feb. 6-9.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo will run from July 24 to Aug. 9.

Besides China, the virus has spread to more than 20 countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, India and Canada.

The virus, which was first detected in December in the city of Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province, is said to have been transmitted to humans from animals, particularly bats.

It raised alarm globally with cases reported across Asia, Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international emergency.

The U.S. also declared a public health emergency due to the new type of coronavirus.

Russia on Jan. 31 suspended visa-free travel for tourists to and from China.

Travelers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide and several airlines have suspended flights to Wuhan.

Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Australia, Pakistan, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan.

Hurriyet Daily News

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