Daily deaths from coronavirus in China top 200 for 1st time

Henrietta Brewer
February 13, 2020

Health officials in Hubei province said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on February 12, the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December, and taking the total number of deaths to more than 1,350.

"One further patient in England has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total number of cases in the United Kingdom to nine", Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England said in a statement.

China's National Health Commission puts death toll from coronavirus outbreak at 1,367, up 254 from a day earlier.

The NHC said that singling out this category in Hubei helps patients receive treatment as early as possible.

The largest daily increase during the outbreak has brought the total number of infections on the mainland close to 60,000.

Jiang Chaoliang, party chief of Hubei, has been replaced by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong, and Ma Guoqiang, party chief of Wuhan, the provincial capital, has been succeeded by Wang Zhonglin, party secretary of Jinan, East China's Shandong province, state media said.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction", WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus warned.

The death toll from the coronavirus is higher than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-03, which is believed to have killed 774 people and sickened almost 8,100 in China and Hong Kong. "If that were not the case, the government could not have added so many new cases in one day".

Hubei authorities had previously only allowed infections to be confirmed by RNA tests, which can take days to process.

Isolating the outbreak epicentre of Wuhan, and reducing flights to and from the worst-affected region, have limited potential further spread, the news conference heard. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information allowing for identification of organisms like viruses.

Chinese authorities had been projecting optimism in recent days about the virus coming under control, pointing to a steady decrease in the rate of new confirmations.

Singapore's annual rugby sevens tournament due to take place in the city-state on April 11-12 would be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, a source familiar with the matter said.

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

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

Meanwhile, 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. Life on board the luxury cruise ship, which has dozens of new virus cases, can include fear, excitement and soul-crushing boredom. No cases of the viral illness have been confirmed among its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members, according to operator Holland America Line.

The reports did not state a reason for the dismissals, but the two are the most high-profile Chinese officials to date to be removed from duty following the coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan late last yet.

Dr Tedros also praised Cambodia for taking in the Westerdam, a U.S. cruise ship that had earlier been turned away from ports in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan despite having no sick patients on board.

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