China virus death toll rises to 170

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China’s viral epidemic has leapt to 170, the government said on Thursday, with more than 1,700 new infections confirmed. Thirty-seven of the 38 new deaths came in hard-hit Hubei province, the epicentre of a contagion that is causing mounting global fear. Another death occurred in southwestern Sichuan province, the National Health Commission reported. The 38 new deaths marked the biggest single-day jump yet and come as a massive containment effort is under way that has effectively locked down tens of millions of people in Hubei. The WHO has called an urgent meeting for Thursday over whether the viral epidemic should be declared a global health emergency — a designation that could lead to increased international coordination. Airlines around the world are already either suspending or paring back services in and out of China, following cases of human-to-human transmission outside the country.

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