Coronavirus cases rise sharply as 242 people die in a single day

Henrietta Brewer
February 13, 2020

The spike in the death toll came a day after markets were cheered when China reported its lowest number of new cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by the country's senior medical adviser that the epidemic could end by April.

It was not immediately clear how the new methodology affected the results, nor why the death toll rose so sharply.

"Thank you Communist Party".

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".

Chinese scientists are testing two antiviral drugs and preliminary clinical trial results are weeks away but a vaccine could take 18 months to develop.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a combined news conference following a two-day worldwide conference on COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine research and a meeting to decide whether Ebola in DR Congo still constitutes health emergency of global concern on January 12, 2020 in Geneva.

The change in counting method will renew concern over the effectiveness the tests now used to identify stricken patients globally, and raise questions over the true scale of the outbreak that has killed more than 1,300 people, all but two on mainland China.

One expert said the changed case definition in Hubei likely speaks to the crush of patients the health system is experiencing and the backlog of untested samples.

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

Tedros said a WHO-led advance team that traveled to China this week had made good progress on the composition and scope of its work.

With companies laying off workers and supply chains disrupted from the auto industry to smartphones, China's economy is taking a big hit.

Planemaker Boeing said airlines were facing a fall in profits as the crisis reduces passenger demand and prolongs weakness in economically sensitive air freight.

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.

Cambodia agreed to let it land, the Holland America Line said. I'll keep updating you on this as we get more information on it. "Outbreaks can bring out the best and the worst in people".

China's Communist Party has replaced the party heads in the coronavirus-stricken province of Hubei and its capital Wuhan, state media said on Thursday, reporting the most high profile officials to lose their posts following the epidemic.

In an unprecedented measure to contain the disease, recently named COVID-19, the Chinese government has placed the hardest-hit cities - home to more than 60 million - under lockdown.

The Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, set for Shanghai on April 19, was postponed, as was Singapore's rugby sevens tournament scheduled for April 11-12, a source said.

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