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Chinese diplomat claims coronavirus will be 'liquidated' by next month: 'Complete victory'


There's reason to be skeptical

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

From an outside perspective, it seems as though coronavirus is spreading somewhat uncontrollably throughout the Hubei province of China where it originated. China's ambassador to Russia, however, feels differently.

Ambassador Zhang Hanhui told a Russian official that China will have a "complete victory" over coronavirus by next month, and could possibly have no cases of the virus outside the Hubei province by the end of this month, according to the Financial Times.

"We can win a complete victory over this virus," Zhang Hanhui reportedly said to Russian parliamentary official Ivan Melnikov. "Outside of Hubei, in other regions, we can win this victory already this month. And in the center of the epidemic, the disease will be liquidated next month."

There have been more than 77,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide. More than 2,200 people have died, and more than 12,000 are currently in serious or critical condition. All but 14 coronavirus deaths occurred in China.

The statistics out of China have been treated with skepticism, and multiple changes by Chinese health authorities regarding how cases are counted has added another level of doubt to their accuracy. Those factors make Zhang's claim of a quick "complete victory" over coronavirus in China seem unlikely. There were 411 new cases of coronavirus in China on Thursday.

World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday that the "window of opportunity is narrowing" to control worldwide spread of the viruses, with the numbers of cases increasing in countries such as South Korea and Japan. From CBS News:

[Ghebreyesus] said the WHO was concerned over the number of coronavirus cases with no clear epidemiological link to China, meaning that patients had neither traveled there or come in contact with any confirmed cases. He also voiced concern about the potential spread of the virus in China's Shandong province, near Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Iran, Australia, and Italy have see coronavirus cases in recent days, and there are more than two dozen confirmed cases in the United States.

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