China’s NHC reports 5,090 new coronavirus cases for Thursday

Henrietta Brewer
February 14, 2020

The rise in China's reported cases on Thursday reflected a decision by authorities there to reclassify a backlog of suspected cases by using patients' chest images, and did not necessarily indicate a wider epidemic, a World Health Organization official said on Thursday. The daily death toll nearly halved when compared to Wednesday's 14,840.

In other developments, Japan reported the second death from the new coronavirus disease outside of China, along with several more confirmed infections on the quarantined cruise ship, as other countries such as Singapore and Vietnam reported more local cases.

The WHO said in its latest daily situation report that over the past 24 hours it has receive reports of 6 more cases outside of China, raising the total to 447 from 24 countries.

This brings the total number of infections on board the Diamond Princess to 218, which is the highest number of infections in one location outside of China.

In Hubei province alone, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, there are about 34,000 people hospitalized, which included approximately 1,400 who are in a critical condition.

In Wuhan, the capital of the central Chinese province of Hubei at the center of the outbreak, 88 additional deaths were reported.

Because CT scans can be run in a matter of minutes, hospitals can more easily catch likely cases that may have slipped through the cracks under the previous testing regime, and admit such patients to avoid a potentially risky home quarantine.

The acceleration in the number of cases does not necessarily represent a sudden surge in new infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 as much as a revised methodology. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the apparent slowdown should be viewed with caution since the virus could spread elsewhere.

"I think it's way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now", WHO Health Emergencies Program executive director Michael Ryan said.

Asked if China was telling the truth about virus, Trump said: "Well, you never know".

Among the deaths on Thursday, 116 were in Hubei province, two in Heilongjiang, and one each in Anhui, Henan and Chongqing.

Japan's Health Ministry announced that 44 more people on a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Thailand refused to allow the Westerdam to dock this week after it had already been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Guam over virus concerns.

It is the first person under quarantine at the airbase among a group of people that arrived from China on February 7 who had symptoms and tested positive for the disease, the CDC said. The vessel has no sick patients on board, but the case of another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, stirred fears that the passengers may carry the deadly virus.

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