Coronavirus death toll leaps in Hubei

A man wearing a face mask has his temperature checked before entering a community hospital in Shanghai on Thursday. China's official death toll and infection numbers from the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus spiked dramatically on Thursday after authoriti

The number of new deaths reported in Hubei came to 242.

The case of a British man who passed on the virus to at least 11 other people - without having been in China - has raised fears of a new phase of contagion overseas.

A second person evacuated from Wuhan to a USA military base near San Diego has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, raising the tally of confirmed cases in the United States to 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday.

That adds a "clinical diagnosis case" classification to identify suspected cases who appear to have pneumonia so that patients can be accepted as soon as possible and treated as confirmed cases, Mi said, adding that should "reduce severe illness and mortality".

As of Thursday, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (247), Singapore (50), Hong Kong (50), Thailand (33), South Korea (28), Taiwan (18), Malaysia (18), Germany (16), Australia (15), Vietnam (15), the U.S. (14), France (11), Macau (10), the United Kingdom (nine), the UAE (eight), Canada (seven), India (three), the Philippines (three), Italy (three), Russian Federation (two), Spain (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Sweden (one) and Belgium (one), the South China Morning Post said in a report citing various health agencies.

The appointments follow the sacking earlier this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission.

The public has widely criticized local officials for failing to respond quickly and decisively to the new virus. Authorities initially assured people that there was little to no risk of human-to-human transmission, a statement that was later retracted.

The patient was among 232 people under quarantine at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar after being airlifted out of Wuhan earlier this month, CDC spokeswoman Ana Toro said.

The death of an infected doctor who had tried to raise the alarm about the outbreak in December, but was silenced by authorities, triggered an outpouring of anger in China.

Tens of millions of others cities far from the epicentre are also enduring travel restrictions.

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

China mostly closed as 60m quarantined

"The jump in cases today reflects the broader definition", he said.

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.

"The goal of the joint mission is that experts of both sides can have in-depth communication on the situation and efforts of prevention and control, and come up with advice for China and other affected countries", Geng said.

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

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

The new deaths were more than twice the prior provincial daily record of 103 set on Monday.

Hundreds of infections have been reported in more than 20 countries, but only two people have died from COVID-19 outside of China to date. The ship has 218 infections among its 3,700 passengers and crew.

"We have a window of opportunity to shut this virus down", Michael Ryan, head of the WHO health emergencies department, told reporters in Geneva.

A cruise ship which had spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone on board might have the coronavirus arrived in Cambodia on Thursday, satellite-tracking data showed.

Hong Kong extended the suspension of schools till at least March 16 in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the city, where 50 cases have been confirmed.

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