Official figures: 909 dead; 40235 confirmed cases; 23589 suspected cases. Sars deaths have been overtaken. The shortage of medical supplies continues. Millions of Chinese are returning to work today. In Beijing health checks for all those who return to the city. New WHO visit to China. Guo Wengui estimates 50,000 virus deaths; 1.5 million infected.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic continues to rise. At 10 this morning their number was 909: the figure has now exceeded the total number of deaths for Sars (813 deaths in 2002-2003).
On the same day yesterday there were 97 deaths, the highest increase of the whole period. Confirmed cases of infection rose to 40235; suspected ones to 23589; 3283 have been successfully treated.
However, many are casting doubt on the veracity of official figures: there are "few" confirmed cases because there is a lack of test kits to verify the disease. In the same way, there is a shortage of medical material (masks, protective suits, glasses, ...) which slows down the work of doctors and nurses.
Today work is starting again all over China, except in Hubei, the epicenter of the infection. The New Year's holiday had been extended by a week due to the epidemic, and to avoid contact between people.
To prevent the virus from spreading further, the return to work of millions of people is subject to alerts and checks. The authorities say that everything must take place in an "orderly manner".
In Beijing, for example, it has been established that all people returning to the capital are examined to verify that they are not infected. According to state media, 50% of the people who usually flock to the stations traveled this morning on the Metro.
Yesterday evening, the WHO (World Health Organization) sent an international team to China to help coordinate a response to the epidemic in the country and worldwide.
Days ago, WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned against fake news that is spreading about the virus. But the sobriety with which the Chinese government gives information on the epidemic and the silence held at the beginning is not instilling confidence.
Yesterday, Guo Wengui, a tycoon self-exiled in the US to escape charges of corruption at home, said he had direct news from Wuhan that the death toll is at least 50,000 and that over 1.5 million Chinese are infected. The government, according to Guo, burns the corpses to hide the true extent of the epidemic crisis.