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Death toll in China’s coronavirus jumps to 425

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Beijing:The death toll in China’s coronavirus rose sharply to 425 with 64 deaths alone while 3,235 new confirmed cases were reported, taking the number of those infected with the deadly disease to 20,438, Chinese health authorities said on Tuesday.

The 64 people who died on Monday were all from Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, China’s National Health Commission said.
Also, 3,235 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection were reported, a big increase in a day.

Another 5,072 new suspected cases were reported on Monday, said the commission, adding that 492 patients became seriously ill.
The commission said 2,788 patients remained in severe condition and 23,214 people were suspected of being infected with the virus, a pointer that it is increasingly turning virulent.
The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 20,438 by the end of Monday, the commission said, noting that a total of 425 people had died of the disease.
A total of 632 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery, state-run Xinhua news agency reported     As the virus spreads from human to human, 2,21,015 close contacts had been traced, with 1,71,329 others were still under medical observation.
By the end of Monday, 15 confirmed cases had been reported in Hong Kong, eight in the Macao and 10 in Taiwan.
The Philippines reported the first overseas death from the virus on Sunday while 148 cases have been reported from abroad.
India has reported three cases of the coronavirus. All the three patients from Kerala recently returned from the affected Wuhan city.
Currently, 647 Indians and seven Maldivians who have been evacuated from Wuhan and Hubei are in 14-day quarantine at a medical camp in Manesar, near Delhi.
As the virus continued to spread at an alarming rate, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday warned officials of punishment if they shirked responsibility in tackling the virus outbreak.
On Monday, China has opened a 1,000-bed hospital built in record nine days in Wuhan city and started trials for new drug to contain the virus and is set to open another 1,300-bed hospital next to it on Wednesday.
The ruling Communist Party of China on Monday held its political bureau meeting presided by President Xi to review the steps being taken on various fronts to halt the spread of the deadly virus. 

 
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Pakistan violates ceasefire at Shahpur, Kirni sectors

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Srinagar, February 18: Pakistani army on Tuesday resorted to unprovoked firing from across the Line of Control in the Shahpur and Kirni sectors of Jammu and Kashmir.

This comes days after a 60-year-old civilian was killed and three others were injured in Pakistani firing at the LoC in the Shahpur sector of Poonch on February 14.

According to details, firing which started in the morning, is still going on from both sides. The Pakistan army targeted Indian defence positions and civilian areas with long-range mortars.

 

Sources said Indian army is giving a befitting response to Pakistani aggression.

On Friday night (Feb 14), three houses were partially damaged in shelling by Pakistani Army in the Hira Nagar sector of the Kathua district in J&K.

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‘Can trade onion, tomatoes then why not play cricket’: Shoaib Akhtar on India-Pakistan bilateral series

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Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar batted for the resumption of India-Pakistan cricketing ties. Akhtar minced no words in criticizing all stakeholders for the long gap between an India and Pakistan bilateral series.

The last time an India-Pakistan bilateral series took place was in 2012-13 when Pakistan travelled to India for a three-match ODI series. Even that happened after a gap of 5 years. The last time these two countries played a Test match was back in 2007. Both the countries, however, have been facing each other regularly in ICC tournaments and Asia Cups.

“We can play Davis Cup, we can play Kabaddi with each other then what’s wrong with cricket? I understand India can’t come to Pakistan, Pakistan can’t go to India but we play Asia Cup, Champions Trophy on neutral venues, can’t we do the same for bilateral series?” Akhtar asked in his youtube channel.

 

“We are one of the best hospitable nations in the world and India have seen it first hands. Ask the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar we love them like anything. Cricket should not get affected by the differences between us. Hopefully, India and Pakistan can play a bilateral series soon and it’s important for both countries to have a tough competition between them,” he added.

Akhtar also suggested neutral venues for an India vs Pakistan bilateral series.

“Pakistan is a very safe place to travel. India’s Kabaddi team came, they got a lot of love, Bangladesh came to play Test cricket. But if there are still doubts then I suggest neutral venues,” Akhtar said.

The Rawalpindi express also went on to say state that all ties should be cut off if India and Pakistan cannot play cricket.

“If you want to cut the ties then stop the trade, stop playing Kabaddi. Why only cricket? Whenever it’s cricket we make it political, it is very disappointing. We eat onions and tomatoes, we exchange pleasantries then why can’t we play cricket?” He added.

Commenting on the importance of the India-Pakistan bilateral series, Akhtar said it is better for cricket and also for business. “It’s very important for India and Pakistan to play because it earns revenue, it brings the fans, it inspires and it also keeps the healthy rivalry going. We get to see new players who can handle this pressure. I urge everyone to come forward and make India-Pakistan bilateral series possible,” he said.

Recently, former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh had also thrown his weight behind India-Pakistan bilateral series.

“I remember playing against Pakistan in 2004, 2006 and 2008 in bilateral series. These days yeah, there has not been enough of that. But these things are not in our hands. We play cricket for the love of the sport. We cannot choose which country to play against ourselves. But what I can say is that the more India v Pakistan cricket there is, the better it is for the sport,” Yuvraj told Sports360.

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Bill Gates warns coronavirus may kill over 10 million people in Africa

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US billionaire and software developer Bill Gates has warned that the coronavirus epidemic could overwhelm the health services of Africa and trigger a pandemic which may lead to 10 million deaths in the continent.

The Microsoft founder and philanthropist was speaking at the annual meeting of an American scientific society in Seattle, Washington, amid growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

As Gates was speaking, news broke that the first case of coronavirus had been confirmed on the continent, as a person in Cairo, Egypt, tested positive for the disease.

 

“This is a huge challenge,” Gates said. “We’ve always known that the potential for either a naturally caused or intentionally caused pandemic is one of the few things that could disrupt health systems, economies and cause more than 10 million excess deaths.”

“This disease, if it’s in Africa, is more dramatic than if it’s in China,” noting that he was “not trying to minimize what’s going on in China in any way.”

There are now fears that the disease could spread to sub-Saharan Africa where it could spark an uncontrollable outbreak, with health services unable to monitor or control the virus. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable foundation that he and his wife, Melinda Gates, established in 2000, recently committed $100 million to fighting the coronavirus.

As of Sunday, the death toll in mainland China reached 1,770, up by 105 from the previous day, while there were 2,048 new cases, bringing the total count to 70,548.

Over 500 cases have been confirmed outside China, mostly of people who traveled from Chinese cities, with five deaths in Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and France.

Chinese authorities say the stabilization in the number of new cases is a sign that measures they have taken to halt the spread of the disease are having an effect. However, epidemiologists and economists warn optimism that the disease might be under control is premature.

Chinese leaders already were struggling to shore up economic growth that slowed to 6.1 percent last year due to weak consumer demand and a trade war with the US. Some economists, citing industry surveys and other data, say real growth already was much weaker than that.

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