Hubei Province Party Secretary Relieved of Duty

Coronavirus deaths jump 242 in a single day the biggest increase in history

Coronavirus deaths jump 242 in a single day the biggest increase in history

China on Thursday sent 1,400 military medical personnel to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, official media reported.

Jiang Chaoliang, Hubei's party secretary, will be replaced by Shanghai mayor Ying Yong, while Wuhan party chief Ma Guoqiang will be replaced by an official from Shandong, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Thank you Communist Party. It is important that these also be counted", she told Reuters. The virus first surfaced December in Wuhan, and has since spread to more than two dozen countries.

Among the deaths, 242 were in Hubei Province, according to Mi Feng, a spokesperson with the National Health Commission, adding that other deaths included two in Henan, and one in Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps respectively.

Previous diagnostic methods were restricted to nucleic acid tests, which identify genetic information to detect viruses but can take days to process.

The expanded criteria is meant to ensure "that patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment", the commission said.

"Presumably, there are deaths which occurred in people who did not have a lab diagnosis but did have a CT".

Addressing scientists at the first global conference on combating the virus in Geneva on Tuesday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the virus was a "very grave threat".

Hospital Wuhan City Hubei Province China while the crisis continued to develop yesterday
Hospital Wuhan City Hubei Province China while the crisis continued to develop yesterday

Tests have been taking place to see whether antiviral drugs used to treat HIV are effective against the coronavirus - however, results are only expected in a few weeks.

There are now more than 60,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with all but about 500 in mainland China.

Outside China, the biggest cases have been reported on a cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama in which 175 tested positive for the virus out of 3,700 people onboard.

As Beijing scrambles to contain the virus, the number of people infected on a cruise ship off Japan's coast rose to 174 - the biggest cluster outside the Chinese mainland.

In Cambodia, the cruise ship MS Westerdam was allowed to dock in the port town of Sihanoukville after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone on board may have the coronavirus. "I thought: Is this real?"

The city of 11 million people remains under virtual lockdown.

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.

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