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Jail cases add to China coronavirus tally



Authorities on Friday said the new coronavirus has infected about 500 people in China’s prisons, almost half outside the province at the centre of the epidemic.

South Korea has also reported 100 new cases that doubled its infections.

The overall increase in new cases in China was relatively small, but changes in how it defines them have raised questions about the accuracy of its daily tallies.

The 234 infections among prisoners outside Hubei ended 16 straight days of declines in new mainland cases excluding that province.

According to official figures, China has had more than 75,400 cases of the coronavirus and 2,236 people have died of the disease known as COVID-19 most in Hubei and its capital Wuhan where the virus emerged in a wildlife market in December.

As international authorities tried to stop the virus from becoming a global pandemic, China’s Vice Science and Technology Minister, Xu Nanping, said its earliest vaccine would be submitted for clinical trials around late April.

The spike in cases in two jails outside Hubei in the northern province of Shandong and the eastern province of Zhejiang made up most of the 258 newly confirmed cases outside the epicentre province.

Authorities said officials deemed responsible for the outbreaks had been fired and the government had sent a team to investigate the bigger outbreak in Shandong, media reported.

Hubei also revised up its number of confirmed infection cases by 220 to account for cases in its prisons.

Provincial officials did not say when the 271 cases in two jails in that province had been diagnosed but 230 of them were in a women’s prison in Wuhan, according to the Hubei Daily.

Data showed mainland China had 889 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections as of Feb. 20, up from 394 cases a day earlier.

The death toll rose by 118, with most in Wuhan, which remains under virtual lockdown.

With finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies set to discuss risks to the world economy in Saudi Arabia at the weekend, the International Monetary Fund said it was too early to tell what impact the virus would have on global growth.

However, Asian shares dipped as fears over the creeping spread of the disease sent funds fleeing to the sheltered shores of U.S. assets, lifting the dollar to three-year highs.

Rodrigo Catril, a senior FX strategist at NAB said “COVID-19 anxiety has risen to a new level amid concerns of virus outbreaks in Beijing and outside of China.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Ismail Abdulaziz

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Hadiza Mohammed: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]