Coronavirus cases rise sharply as 242 people die in a single day



A new diagnostic method has led the Chinese province at the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak to report a record rise in deaths and thousands more cases on Thursday.

New figures from Hubei today record 242 new deaths, taking the death toll in China to at least 1355, and a further 14,840 cases have been reported leading to a worldwide total of 60,015 confirmed cases.

"Just when markets were getting comfortable with the idea that the Covid-19 infection increase was trending lower, the sudden jump in the number of new cases in Hubei has jolted them out of this sense of complacency", Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, told Bloomberg News.

Chinese authorities have changed the way they count infections from the virus - officially named Covid-19 - and the latest reports propelled the nationwide death toll to 1,355 and the infection count to almost 60,000.

There was a happier ending for another cruise ship, the MS Westerdam, which docked in Cambodia after being barred from Guam, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand over fears that one of its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew might have the virus - even though none had tested positive. While there have been efforts to speed up the process, scientific testing of samples is hard and time consuming, and allowing doctors to diagnose patients will enable far more people to receive treatment, including in several purpose-built hospitals dedicated to treating the virus in Wuhan.

After the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-2003, China promised to improve the way it shared information about epidemics, and put in place a new system allowing hospitals to report new cases in real time. Across mainland China, the total number was nearly 60,000.

Investors sought safety in U.S. assets, pushing the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note lower as the euro plunged to more than two-year lows against the dollar.

Coronavirus: US evacuee mistakenly released from hospital
As a result, another 14,840 new cases were reported in the province on Thursday, up from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier. The patient was sent from Miramar to a local hospital in the San Diego area for evaluation, awaiting test results.

"And. other provinces tested milder cases".

Speaking at the same hearing, Asha George, executive director of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, said that China may be limited in its testing and reporting resources, versus simply "a lack of desire on the part of the Chinese government to report".

"I don't think the move was long overdue". WHO's risk assessment for the virus is "very high" for China and "high" regionally and globally.

The organization said "CO" stands for "corona", "VI" for "virus, "D" for "disease" and "-19" for "2019" - as the outbreak was first detected December 31".

Passengers on board the ship have been subjected to regular health checks throughout the troubled journey.

To date, all but two deaths - in the Philippines and Hong Kong - have occurred in mainland China and China also accounts for about 99 per cent of those infected.

The biggest cluster of cases outside China is on a cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama, where a further 44 cases were reported on Thursday. Also in isolation is a woman who was mistakenly released because of a mislabeled sample that hadn't been tested for coronavirus.

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