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

A man disinfects escalators at a shopping mall in Beijing on Thursday Feb. 13 2020

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases soared by more than 5,000 in a one-day span, officials in China said Friday - as they announced that more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected by the deadly bug.

"This allows clinicians to move and report cases more quickly, not having to wait for lab confirmation, ensuring that people get to clinical care more quickly, and also allows public health responses in terms of contact tracing and other important public health measures to be initiated", Ryan added.

The government explained the spike was due to a change in how cases are tabulated - the total will now include "clinically diagnosed cases" - people who demonstrate all the symptoms of Covid-19 but have either been unable to access a test or are believed to have falsely tested negative.

Japan confirmed its first death from the virus on Thursday. Japan reported a death on Thursday, for the third fatality outside of mainland China.

People are restricted from entering or leaving the cities, and in many places can only leave their homes or residential complexes for shopping and other daily needs.

But in Geneva, World Health Organization officials warned Wednesday against reaching premature conclusions on the Chinese data.

Many doctors in Wuhan have had to see patients without proper masks or protective body suits, resorting to reusing the same equipment when they should be changed regularly. Of the 5,090 new cases, 3,095 fell into that category.

Provincial Communist Party boss Jiang Chaoliang was sacked as secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee, and Ma Guoqiang removed as party chief in Wuhan, state media said.

The MS Westerdam, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, docked in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville on Thursday. People have tested positive in 28 countries.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen greeted the passengers with handshakes and bouquets of roses as they stepped off the ship and boarded a waiting bus.

Many countries have implemented travel restrictions on recent visitors to China, which has more than 99 per cent of the world's reported infections. "We're a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese, these numbers are jumping around. there was some surprise", he told reporters.

Kudlow said President Xi Jinping had assured President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept U.S. help, but "they won't let us".

Kudlow said President Xi Jinping had assured President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept United States help, but "they won't let us". The first cases emerged in December in Wuhan. They were the two highest-profile officials to be axed since the outbreak. The official Xinhua news agency says former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong will replace Jiang, who had been criticized by the public for his handling of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

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