China reveals that more than 1,700 toilets have been infected and six have died

Six members of the health staff have died and 1,716 have been contaminated in China by the new coronavirus, the government said on Friday, who warned of the risks in hospitals.

The announcement comes a week after the death, because of the virus, of a doctor who had alerted the authorities at the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, but was repressed and admonished.

Zeng Yixin, deputy minister of the National Health Commission, said that until Tuesday 1,716 infections were reported, of which 1,102 were diagnosed in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic and located in the center of the country.

Another 400 were infected in other places in Hubei Province, whose capital is Wuhan, the official said.

Authorities have struggled to distribute protective equipment in Wuhan hospitals, where doctors and nurses have been overwhelmed by a growing number of patients.

Many doctors in Wuhan have treated patients without suitable masks or protective suits or using the same equipment several times when they need to change regularly.

A member of a Wuhan community clinic told AFP that he and at least 16 other colleagues have shown symptoms similar to those caused by the new coronavirus.

The risks faced by medical staff were highlighted on February 7 when ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who had alerted the epidemic to begin in December, succumbed to the disease in Wuhan.

His death caused a strong malaise in the population. Ten academics in the city published an open letter asking for freedom of expression.

The total number of deaths in China due to the COVID-19 epidemic approached 1,400 on Friday and the number of contaminated people amounts to 63,851, according to official data.