International desk – The death toll from novel coronavirus has crossed 2,000 with more than 70,000 people infecting worldwide.
All but six of the deaths are reported from mainland China. Hong Kong reported the second death on Wednesday.
A 70-year-old man became the second fatality of the coronavirus in the semiautonomous Chinese financial hub of Hong Kong. He was diagnosed with the pathogen on February 14, and had been staying in Princess Margaret Hospital, according to CNN.
By now, more than 1,000 people have been infected with the virus outside mainland China. Japan, Singapore and South Korea have reported a steady rise in cases, with the Korean Centers for Disease Control confirming 20 new infections, bringing the country’s total to 51.
The passengers aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan began disembarking Wednesday after a 14-day quarantine. A total of 545 cases of the virus are linked to the stricken ship.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing on Tuesday that a vaccine against the virus was still at least a year away.
But he said a vaccine would only protect against “the worst situation” of a pandemic, and for now it was important to promote public health solutions to limit the virus’s spread.
“This is a window of opportunity that should not be missed,” he said.