Coronavirus death toll jumps by record 242 in just one day

Andrew Cummings
February 14, 2020

Hundreds of infections have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and territories, but only two people have died from the virus outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Hubei authorities have been criticized fiercely for not having responded to the deadly virus in the early stage of the outbreak, which, as of Thursday, had killed 1,368 people and infected more than 50,000 in China.

"We're not dealing, from what we understand, with a spike in cases of 14,000 on one day", he said.

"It is not clear if the problem up to now, on this issue, was lack of transparency or simply bad medical practice", Crane said.

Hubei also reported 244 new deaths after earlier reporting 242.

Australian National University China researcher Jiang Yun (姜雲) said that the new methodology might be a "practical measure", because Hubei has a shortage of laboratory testing kits.

According to a local government notice, neighborhood committees will distribute basic necessities at a fixed time and at fixed prices, as well as help residents purchase any medicine they might urgently need.

"Investors will surely avoid Asia for the time being and will shift funds to the U.S., geographically the most separated from the region", said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

During a Thursday press conference about COVID-19, as the virus is now officially known, Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, emphasized that the new figures don't represent a spike in infections but rather reflect a change in the way China is counting cases.

"It is our current understanding that the new case definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure", World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters.

Ryan also said that he expected members of a WHO-led worldwide mission to arrive in China over the weekend.

An advance team of World Health Organization experts has been in China since Monday.

In Vietnam, official media reported a village of 10,000 north-west of the capital, Hanoi, was put in lockdown due to a cluster of cases there.

The scenario of billions of infections is what could happen it the virus spread in other countries close to the extent of the spread in China.

The online newspaper VN Express cited a senior official of Vinh Phuc province as reporting an increase in cases in Son Loi.

Up until now, they had been documenting cases using a more sophisticated laboratory test.

Meanwhile, another cruise ship, the Westerdam, finally docked Thursday in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville, ending a two-week-long saga that saw the ship being turned away by Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines because of unsubstantiated fears that someone on board was infected. The ship, MS Westerdam had docked in Cambodia.

Global health authorities are still scrambling to find "patient zero" - a person who carried the disease into a company meeting in Singapore from which it spread to five other countries. Japan now has 252 confirmed cases, including 218 from a cruise ship that has been quarantined in Yokohama.

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