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New coronavirus hospital to open in Wuhan

Wuhan (China), Feb 3 (IANS) A new hospital built for coronavirus patients in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, is set to open on Monday, as authorities scramble to contain the fast-spreading epidemic.

Built in under 10 days, the Huoshenshan Hospital has a capacity for 1,000 beds, and overseen by 1,400 medical staff from the Chinese armed forces, some with experience fighting infectious diseases such as SARS, reports Efe news.

The facility will seek to alleviate the collapse suffered by other hospitals in the area, with a second, Leishenshan Hospital, due to be completed on Wednesday.

On Monday, the number of deaths in China rose to 361, with 17,205 confirmed cases and 475 discharged from hospital, according to the National Health Commission.

More than 152,700 people are under observation, among which there are a total of 21,558 suspected cases.

Meanwhile, stocks in mainland China tumbled on Monday on the first day of trading after the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

The Shanghai Composite Index shed 779.90 points, or 7.11 per cent after falling 9 per cent at the start of trading half an hour earlier.

The Shenzhen Stock Exchange lost 779.90 points, or 7.30 per cent after plunging 8.8 per cent minutes after trading started, while Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index recorded a slight gain of 0.75 per cent.

Stocks in other Asian markets also fell, although not as much. In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei index decreased 1.37 per cent while South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.89 per cent.

China’s central bank announced on Sunday that it would pump 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) into the market in an attempt to protect the economy from the impact of the outbreak.

Millions of Chinese were returning to their jobs Monday after the extended Lunar New Year holidays, although some cities have staggered the return date to try to contain the spread of the virus.

Deaths in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has been deemed as a global health emergency by the WHO, have already surpassed those caused by SARS epidemic in 2003, as most of the victims were in Hong Kong.

The epidemic caused 765 deaths worldwide, 348 in mainland China and 297 in Hong Kong, according to the WHO.

SARS had a mortality rate of 10 per cent, while that of the Wuhan coronavirus currently sits at around 2.09 per cent.

–IANS

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