Wuhan hospital boss dies from coronavirus as global death toll exceeds 1,700

The Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, Liu Zhiming, died from the coronavirus (COVID-19) Tuesday, according to the municipal health commission.

Liu, 51 is credited to have taken part in the battle against the epidemic from the start and had made an important contribution in fighting the virus.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Liu, regardless of personal safety, led all medical personnel of Wuchang Hospital on the front line to fight against the epidemic, making important contributions to the city's epidemic prevention and control, China’s Xinhua reported, citing the eulogy issued by the health commission.

First case in Africa stable, under care  

Liu’s death came after a global health expert has said the first case of the new coronavirus outbreak confirmed in Egypt, the first in Africa, last Friday is receiving proper care.

Dr Ahmed Ogwel, the Deputy Director at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) – a technical institution of the AU helping member states to respond effectively to disease threats – the first case in Africa “is stable under care.”

Africa CDC is “confident that Egypt has the expertise” to manage the situation.

The confirmed case is a 33-year-old male of foreign origin, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Health.

Seventeen contacts of the patient tested negative, and all of them were put under home isolation for 14 days.

Reports indicate that the global death toll of the outbreak that started in China’s province of Hubei, end last year, has passed the 1,700-mark.

According to reports, China's National Health Commission has announced that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China reached 1,770 as of the end of Sunday, February 26—up by 105 from the previous day.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week announced a new name – COVID-19 – for the deadly new coronavirus disease and said the vaccine for the virus could be available in 18 months.

WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Sunday, urged the international community to intensify preparedness.

“Together, we are facing COVID19 and we must use the window of opportunity to intensify our preparedness for it. And more than ever it’s time to let science and evidence lead policy. If we don’t, we are headed down a dark path that leads nowhere but division and disharmony,” he said in a tweet.

The WHO recently issued a call for $675 million, which is what the world needs to support preparedness and response operations around the world.

Basic precaution measures

In Kigali, the WHO office and the Ministry of Health have recommended basic precaution measures for the public such as washing hands regularly, either with alcohol-based drop or soap; keeping a distance from people who are coughing or sneezing, and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or the elbow when coughing or sneezing.

However, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), recently moved to ease potential public panic, as the virus quickly evolves across the globe.

Nsanzimana said the public needs to know the clinical symptoms of the disease – fever, cough, running nose, difficulty breathing, pneumonia and lung infiltrate which can be detected with chest x-ray.

He outlined six daily practices to help keep the virus at bay as:

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
– Stay home when you are sick.
– Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
– Avoid unnecessary handshaking if you present clinical signs of the flu-like syndrome.

The UN health agency does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers.

In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, it says, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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