Daily deaths from coronavirus in China top 200 for 1st time

A MAN wearing a protective face mask as a preventative measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus buys flowers to mark Valentine's Day in Hong Kong

A MAN wearing a protective face mask as a preventative measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus buys flowers to mark Valentine's Day in Hong Kong

The number of new cases in China dropped for a second straight day in a virus outbreak that has infected about 45,000 people and killed more than 1,100, health officials said Wednesday.

People wearing masks are seen at a shopping mall in downtown Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, Wednesday. That appears to count cases based on doctors' analyses and lung imaging rather than relying exclusively on laboratory test results.

The provincial health commission said last week that it would begin recognizing computerized tomography (CT) scan results as confirmation of infections, allowing hospitals to isolate patients more quickly.

China on Thursday sent 1,400 military medical personnel to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, official media reported. The outbreak began in Wuhan late past year, and has spread throughout China.

Dr Tedros also praised Cambodia for taking in the Westerdam, a USA cruise ship that had earlier been turned away from ports in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan despite having no sick patients on board.

"First of all, they are trying to clean up the backlog of untested people who haven't been confirmed", said Ether Yin, partner at Beijing-based consulting firm Trivium China.

Health officials said that they looked into past suspected cases and revised their diagnoses, suggesting that older cases were also included in yesterday's numbers.

Meanwhile, Wang Zhonglin has been appointed secretary of the Wuhan Municipal Committee of the CPC and a member of the Standing Committee of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the CPC, replacing Ma Guoqiang.

The UK has confirmed its ninth case of coronavirus, saying the latest patient - the first in London - had caught the virus while in China.

The outbreak has become the latest political challenge for China's ruling Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping.

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But the government has faced continued scepticism among the global public, with fears that there may be similarities to the way it dealt with SARS. It also requires a quarantine of United States citizens who have recently visited Hubei province in China.

The biggest cluster of cases outside China is on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan's coast, where 218 infections have now been confirmed.

United Airlines said late on Wednesday it would extend cancellations of all USA flights to China until late April because of the coronavirus, joining other U.S. carriers that have suspended China routes.

"Outside cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship we are not seeing dramatic increases in transmission outside China".

Zhong Nanshan, a renowned scientist at China's National Health Commission, had said on Tuesday he thought the outbreak would peak in mid- to late-February.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the virus poses a "grave threat" to the world, with chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying the virus could have "more powerful consequences than any terrorist action".

"We'd like to be able to predict the future, but we must be cautious", said Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO's health emergencies program.

As he was speaking, organisers announced the cancellation of the 2020 Mobile World Congress, due to be held in Barcelona this month, due to "global concern" over the infection.

"I guess if the situation in Hubei is a long way from being under control, the party should be anxious about instability, because you are literally going to have tens of millions of people confined indoors at least for another month", he said.

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