China virus death toll hits 106 as contagion spreads abroad Jan 29, 2020 0 1061 12345 AFPWuhanPresident Xi Jinping said on Tuesday China was in a struggle against a “demon” epidemic, as the death toll from the new SARS-like virus soared to 106 and the first cases of human-to-human contagion were detected abroad.Xi made his remarks during talks with head of the World Health Organization in Beijing as a host of nations prepared to airlift their citizens from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.“Chinese people are currently engaged in a serious struggle against an epidemic of a new type of coronavirus infection,” Xi told WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.“The epidemic is a demon, and we cannot let this demon hide,” the Chinese leader said, pledging that the government would be transparent and release information on the virus in a “timely” manner.His comments came after anger simmered on Chinese social media over the handling of the health emergency by local officials in central Hubei province, where the disease first emerged in December.Some experts have praised Beijing for being more reactive and open about this virus compared to its handling of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2002-2003. But others say local cadres had earlier been more focused on projecting stability than responding to the outbreak when it began to spread earlier this month. Since then, the number of cases has soared -- doubling to more than 4,500 in the past 24 hours.WHO chief Tedros praised China’s response to the crisis during a meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, according to state news agency Xinhua.The WHO last week stopped short of declaring the outbreak a global emergency, which could have prompted a more aggressive international response such as travel restrictions. But global concern has been growing, with Japan and Germany on Tuesday reporting the first human-to-human infections outside China.Until now, all cases in more than a dozen countries involved people who had been in or around Wuhan.In Japan, a man in his sixties contracted the virus apparently after driving two groups of tourists from the city earlier in January, the health ministry said. He was hospitalised with flu-like symptoms on Saturday.On the other side of the world, a 33-year-old German man caught the disease off a Chinese colleague from Shanghai who visited Germany last week, according to health officials.Experts believe the virus came from a wild animal market in Wuhan and then jumped to humans, with Chinese health officials saying Tuesday that people infect each other through sneezing or coughing, and possibly through contact.Authorities initially sealed off Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province late last week, trapping more than 50 million people. China then halted international and domestic group tours. It also imposed a wide range of travel restrictions inside China, suspending long-distance bus routes and more than 2,000 train services. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Thousands rally in Pakistan to demand release of rights activist Jan 29, 2020 0 907 French firefighters demand better conditions in fiery Paris protest Jan 29, 2020 0 85 US, Japan, other countries set to evacuate citizens from China’s Wuhan city Jan 29, 2020 0 338 US forces recover bodies from jet crash site in Afghanistan Ghazni, Afghanistan: US forces in helicopters recovered the remains on Tuesday of the crew killed when one of its military jets went down in a Taliban-controlled area, hours after Afghan forces trying to reach the .. US developing vaccine against China virus, urges more cooperation, transparency AFP Washington The United States said on Tuesday it was developing a vaccine against a deadly virus that originated in China, and urged Beijing to step up its cooperation with international health authorities. The US .. US top court sides with Trump on immigrant welfare benefits AFP Washington The US Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to proceed with a rule that aims to deny permanent residency and citizenship to immigrants who claim welfare benefits. The top chamber’s ..