Coronavirus LIVE updates: 1,500 killed; Zydus Cadila launches prog to develop vaccine; first casualty outside Asia

  • China’s National Health Commission reported an additional 143 deaths nationwide, as well as 2,641 new confirmed cases as of February 14
  • China confident epidemic will soon be over, says Deputy foreign minister
The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in mainland China rose to 1,523 as of the end of Friday, after 143 people died over the course of the day, the country's National Health Commission said on Saturday morning.
The number of new deaths in central Hubei province, at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, rose by 139 as of Friday.
Most of the new deaths were in Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, with 107 new deaths. A total of 1,123 people in Wuhan have now died from the coronavirus.
There were 2,641 new confirmed infections across mainland China, bringing the national total to 66,492.
A number of trade fairs and industry conferences in China and overseas have been postponed due to transportation curbs and concerns about the spread of the virusXi Jinping says China must keep economic, social order while battling coronavirus
China must make every effort to maintain economic and social control as it battles the coronavirus epidemic, and avoid causing panic that could lead to secondary "disasters," President Xi Jinping told senior officials earlier this month.
Reuters reported this week that Xi had warned officials on Feb. 3 that efforts to contain the new coronavirus had gone too far, threatening the economy. Those comments came days before Beijing rolled out measures to soften the blow.
The epidemic has become a major test for Xi in how to balance stamping out the epidemic with protecting an economy already growing at its slowest in nearly three decades

Zydus Cadila launches research prog to develop vaccine for coronavirus
Pharmaceutical major Zydus Cadila on Saturday said it has initiated an accelerated research programme with multiple teams in India and Europe for developing a vaccine for coronavirus.
The first approach deals with development of a DNA vaccine against the major viral membrane protein responsible for the cell entry of the novel corona virus, now called COVID-19, the company said in a statement.
The plasm id DNA would be introduced into the host cells, where it would be translated into the viral protein and elicit a strong immune response mediated by the cellular and humoral arms of the human immune system, which play a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance
406 people brought back from Wuhan may be released next week if final samples test negative
A total of 406 people, who are housed at a quarantine facility of the ITBP after being brought back from China due to coronavirus outbreak there, may be released next week if their final samples turn out to be negative, officials said on Saturday.
The final samples of all the people quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility here were collected by a team of doctors on Friday and the reports are expected to be received by Monday.
"Based on the reports, a decision will be taken to discharge the travellers, if agreed to by the authorities, which is expected to be done in next week observing laid down protocols and due medical procedures as per the directives of Health Ministry," PRO of the ITBP Vivek Kumar Pandey said in a statement



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