Sun | May 31, 2020

China still mostly closed down as virus deaths pass 1,000

Published:Tuesday | February 11, 2020 | 1:55 PM
Medical workers with protective suites walk away from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

BEIJING (AP) — The daily death toll in China from a new virus topped 100 for the first time, pushing the total fatalities above 1,000 Tuesday as the World Health Organization announced a new name for the disease caused by the virus.

Despite the official end of the extended Lunar New Year holiday, China remained mostly closed for business as many remained at home, with some 60 million people under virtual quarantine.

In Geneva, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced a new name for the disease caused by the virus — COVID-19 — saying officials wanted to avoid stigmatising any geographic location, group of people or animal that might be linked to the disease and to make it clear it was a new coronavirus discovered in 2019.

“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks,” the WHO chief said, adding that the name was agreed upon by officials at WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

With the death toll reaching 1,016 in mainland China and no end in sight, heads are beginning to roll.

While no central government-level officials have lost their jobs, state media reported Tuesday that the top health officials in Hubei province, home to the epicenter of Wuhan, have been relieved of their duties.

No reasons were given, although the province’s initial response was deemed slow and ineffective. Speculation that higher-level officials could be sacked has simmered, but doing so could spark political infighting and be a tacit admission that the Communist Party dropped the ball.

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