With some 35,000 stricken within its borders and the death-toll spiraling, a desperate China is finally accepting help in battling the coronavirus— after rebuffing offers from the US and others for weeks.
China has agreed to let the World Health Organization form an international team of experts that will travel to the mainland to study the virus and seek solutions, a US embassy spokesman told Reuters on Saturday.
Infectious disease experts from the United States will play a major role.
“These US experts have extensive experience working with the World Health Organization on a range of infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics, including Ebola, avian influenza and SARS,” the spokesman added.
China’s foreign ministry has confirmed Saturday that its own National Health Commission was working on arrangements for the WHO-led group’s arrival, scheduled to begin Monday or Tuesday.
The sooner the better, the latest grim statistics indicate.
By Saturday night, the coronavirus had killed 725 people, nearly all of them in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
One of those victims was of a 60-year-old American citizen who either lived in China or was visiting there, and who died Thursday in a hospital in the city of Wuhan, according to embassy officials, who released no further information. Reportedly, the victim was a woman with underlying health problems.
That patient is the first American to have died from the virus; an additional 12 confirmed coronavirus patients are being treated in California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois and Massachusetts.
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