China said it would welcome assistance from the United States to fight a coronavirus outbreak, a day after it accused Washington of scaremongering, and as the death toll rose on Tuesday by a new daily record to more than 420.
The toll in China rose to 425 as of the end of Monday, up by a record 64 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday. All of the new deaths were in central Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the flu-like virus a global emergency, although experts say much is still unknown about the pathogen including its lethality.
“We expect to see more cases of person-to-person spread,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The total number of infections in China rose by 3,235 on Tuesday to 20,438, and there are at least 151 cases in 23 other countries and regions, including the United States, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Britain.
The CDC confirmed a handful of new cases in the United States, bringing the U.S. total to 11, including a patient in California who was infected through close contact with someone in the same household who had been infected in China.
It marked the second instance of person-to-person spread of the virus in the United States after such a case was announced last week in Illinois.
China accused the United States of whipping up panic over the coronavirus outbreak Chinese stock market plunged about 8 per cent on Monday on the first day back from an extended Lunar New Year holiday.
Beijing made the accusation after the Trump administration on Friday said it was barring nearly all foreign visitors who have been to China within the past 14 days to address the threat of the virus.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday said the United States “should adopt an objective, fair, calm and rational attitude” and “refrain from overreacting.”
“China has noted that the United States has repeatedly expressed its willingness to provide assistance to China, and hopes that the relevant assistance will be provided soon,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on the ministry’s website.
With Wuhan and some other cities in virtual lockdown, travel severely restricted and China facing increasing international isolation, fears of wider economic disruption are growing; sources at the OPEC oil cartel said producers were considering cutting output by almost a third to support prices.