The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 213 with the number of confirmed cases totalling to 9,692, China's national authorities announced on Friday.
Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 5,806 confirmed cases, including 204 deaths, official media reported.
A total of 213 people have died of the disease as of Thursday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Chinese health authorities announced that 9,692 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps by the end of Thursday.
About 20 countries, including India, have reported confirmed cases of the virus in travellers coming from China.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
China said it has full confidence and capability to win the fight against the epidemic.
The WHO has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.
The UN health agency on Friday declared an international emergency over the deadly novel coronavirus from China -- a rarely used designation that could lead to improved international co-ordination in tackling the disease.
"Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems," World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as he announced the virus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Reacting to the announcement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in a press statement said, "Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a high sense of responsibility for people's health."
Many of these measures go well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations, she said.
"We have full confidence and capability to win this fight against the epidemic," said the spokesperson.
She said that at the same time, the Chinese side informed relevant sides and shared the genome sequence of the coronavirus in a timely manner with openness, transparency and a responsible attitude.
"WHO and many countries have recognised and commended this," she said.
Hua said China has been in close communication and cooperation with WHO.
"WHO experts recently conducted a field trip to Wuhan. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also visited China and discussed containment and mitigation of the 2019-nCoV with the Chinese side," she said.Noting that Tedros commended China's efforts and spoke highly of China's great contribution to the world by fighting against the novel coronavirus, Hua said the country will continue working with WHO and other countries to safeguard regional and global public health security, Xinhua quoted her statement.