Forty seven more people have died of the deadly coronavirus, rasing the death toll in the country to 2,835 while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 79,251, Chinese health officials said on Saturday.
China's National Health Commission (NHC) in its daily report on Saturday said it received reports of 427 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection and 47 deaths on Friday.
Among the deaths reported, 45 were from the epicentre of the virus Hubei Province, one in Beijing and Henan respectively, it said.
The overall confirmed cases on the mainland have reached 79,251 by the end of Friday, and 2,835 people have died of the disease, it said.
The virus, though slowing down its virulence, continued to affect more people as another 248 new suspected cases were reported taking the total to 1,418 people.
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.
Also on Friday, 2,885 people were discharged from the hospitals after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 288 to 7,664, the NHC said.
A total of 39,002 people have been discharged from the hospitals after the recovery.
By the end of Friday, 94 confirmed cases, including two deaths, have been reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 34 in Taiwan, including one death.
Meanwhile, a senior World Health Organisation (WHO) expert said in Geneva on Friday that it is unhelpful to declare a pandemic when people are still trying to contain COVID-19, although the WHO has raised the epidemic risk alert to the highest level.
The WHO revised on Friday the risk assessment of the COVID-19 from "high" to "very high" at global level, as an increasing number of cases in more countries were reported over the last few days.
"A Pandemic is a unique situation, in which all citizens on the planet will likely be exposed to a virus within a defined period of time," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme as saying.
However, in the case of COVID-19, it has been proved that the course of the epidemic can be significantly altered through containment measures and robust public health response, the expert noted.
The word "pandemic" is "colloquial," Ryan said, appealing for actions that go beyond colloquial terms.The existing data do not support the concept of a pandemic so far, he said, highlighting that China has clearly shown that it is not necessarily the natural outcome of the COVID-19 epidemic if indispensable responses are made quickly.