China announces biggest drop in new virus cases in nearly a month

Death toll from coronavirus in China rises to 2,236 more than 75,400 infected

Death toll from coronavirus in China rises to 2,236 more than 75,400 infected

On Wednesday, there were 1,693 new cases reported in Hubei.

It is now, once again, only counting cases confirmed through laboratory tests.

The commission reversed an earlier change in the diagnostic guidelines for coronavirus patients that had allowed cases in Hubei province - the epicentre of the outbreak - to be diagnosed only on the basis of clinical tests, such as via chest X-rays.

Last week, United States officials questioned the government's transparency after a change in the method for counting infections caused a surge of nearly 15,000 new cases in Hubei.

China reported a further fall in new virus cases to 889 on Friday as health officials expressed optimism over containment of the outbreak that has caused more than 2,200 deaths and is spreading elsewhere.

Chinese authorities placed Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, under quarantine on January 23 and quickly locked down the rest of Hubei in the days that followed.

Noting that South Korean authorities have reported a total of 104 confirmed cases, including 22 on Thursday, Dr Tedros said: "With measures they can take, which is proportionate to the public health risk they have, I think the number of cases are really manageable".

The latest figures from China put the death toll from the disease at 2,236 people and total infections at more than 75,000.

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A Chinese diplomat backed Pakistan's decision not to evacuate Pakistani students from the province at the centre of China's coronavirus outbreak, a day after parents confronted government ministers demanding their children be brought home.

"It is urgent to find people who have contacted infected people and cure patients", Prime Minister Chung said according to news agency Yonhap.

"China's forceful action has contained the spread of the virus inside China and also the spread of the virus to other parts of the world", Wang said, adding the country "has the capacity and determination to overcome this outbreak at an early date".

On Wednesday, 443 passengers disembarked from the ship after testing negative for the virus and not showing symptoms during a 14-day quarantine period. Several EU citizens, among them more than a dozen Germans, were also set to board an evacuation flight from Wuhan to Paris on Friday.

Fearing the passengers would bring the first deadly case of the novel coronavirus to Ukraine, hundreds - some armed with metal rods and rocks - turned out to protest their return, footage broadcast on Ukrainian television showed.

Outside of Hubei, the number of cases has been steadily falling, with only 45 more cases reported on Thursday.

The mayor of Daegu, South Korea's fourth-largest city, urged residents to stay indoors after a spike in infections linked to a church congregation.

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