Virus death toll nears 1,400 in China, cruise ship disembarks in Cambodia

Coronavirus patients, medical staff dance at Wuhan hospital to stay positive

Coronavirus patients, medical staff dance at Wuhan hospital to stay positive

The capital city of Wuhan reported 3,910 new infections and 88 new deaths on Thursday.

Experts also saw it as a reflection of a chaotic crush of people seeking treatment and the struggle to keep up with a backlog of untested samples in Hubei province and its capital city, Wuhan, where the disease first surfaced in December.

"The goal of the joint mission is that experts of both sides can have in-depth communication on the situation and efforts of prevention and control, and come up with advice for China and other affected countries", Geng said.

China reported a massive surge in coronavirus deaths and infections in Hubei province Wednesday-but that didn't mean the disease now known as COVID-19 had become much deadlier overnight.

It also followed the sacking on Tuesday of two top health officials in Hubei - Zhang Jin, party chief of the Hubei Health Commission, and Liu Yingzi, provincial health commission director - over their flaws in responding to the epidemic.

But the change raised concerns that the crisis may be more serious than Chinese authorities have reported. The number of confirmed cases jumped 15,152 to 59,804.

The number of new infections was down sharply on the previous day, when a change in the methods of diagnosing patients led to a record spike in cases.

The new figures give no indication the outbreak is nearing a peak, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, an infectious diseases expert at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

But only three deaths have been reported outside China - one in the Philippines, one in Hong Kong, and the latest, an 80-year-old woman, in Japan.

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The vast majority of the deaths are in mainland China, with only one death in Hong Kong, one in the Philippines and one in Japan.

Amid the ongoing epidemic, Chinese authorities have reportedly relieved Hubei party secretary Jiang Chaoliang of his duties and appointed incumbent Shanghai mayor Ying Yong as the new secretary of the Communist Party of China, local media said Thursday.

In a statement Wednesday, GloPID-R chair Yazdan Yazdanpanah said that "equitable access-making sure we share data and reach those most in need, in particular those in lower and middle-income countries, is fundamental to this work which must be guided by ethical considerations at all times".

Cases of coronavirus are not rising dramatically outside China apart from in passengers on a cruise liner now quarantined off a Japanese port, according to a senior World Health Organisation [WHO] official.

A team of health officials will board the ship to conduct health checks on the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members before they will be allowed to disembark. The ship, MS Westerdam had docked in Cambodia.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen greeted the passengers with handshakes and bouquets of roses as they stepped off the ship and boarded a waiting bus.

There are at least 570 confirmed cases of coronavirus in more than 25 countries and territories outside mainland China.

Health officials in Hubei province said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on February 12, the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December, and taking the total number of deaths to more than 1,350.

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