China counts 170 virus deaths, new countries find infections

BEIJING (AP) — China counted 170 deaths from the novel coronavirus yesterday and more countries reported infections, including some spread locally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit region returned home to medical observation and even isolation.

South Korea confirmed a case that was locally spread, in a man who had contact with a patient diagnosed earlier.

Locally spread cases outside China have been a worrying concern among global health officials, amid potential signs of the virus spreading more easily and the difficulty of containing it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is reconvening experts yesterday to assess whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.

The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, another type of coronavirus.

Yesterday’s figures for mainland China cover the previous 24 hours and represent an increase of 38 deaths and 1,737 cases for a total of 7,711. Of the new deaths, 37 were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, and one was in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

ContiVietnam, meanwhile, confirmed three new cases yesterday— all people returned from Wuhan — bringing its total to five.