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China allocates $10bn to contain coronavirus as death toll outstrips 2003 Sars outbreak

“At this moment [it] is very difficult to predict when we are going to have an inflection point,” Liu Xiaoming said. “We certainly hope it will come soon, but the isolation and quarantine measures have been very effective.”

But China is facing a severe shortage of protective medical equipment as panic over the outbreak has spread and driven unprecedented demand. 

China’s National Health Commission called for the “reasonable use” of protective suits in a statement on Sunday, echoing advice from the World Health Organization last week.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, warned against the “widespread inappropriate use” of equipment such as face masks on Friday. 

“The first priority is health workers, the second priority is those who are sick or caring for someone who is sick,” he said.

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