China transparent in virus response: United Nations envoy

Grant Boone
February 13, 2020

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, has increased by 13,436 in one day as Chinese health authorities have adopted a new way to diagnose and ascertain the lung infection.

Hubei province is ground zero of new coronavirus that continues to kill dozens on nearly a daily basis.

The statement hinted that Hubei may have previously been under-counting the number of official cases of the coronavirus, adding that the change was "in order to be consistent with the classification of case diagnosis issued by other provinces across the country".

His comments gave some balm to public fears and to markets, where global stocks surged to record highs on hopes of an end to disruption in the world's second largest economy.

On Thursday, following the release of the new figures, Chinese state media announced that the party secretary of Hubei province, Jiang Chaoliang, was sacked and would be replaced by the mayor of Shanghai, Ying Yong.

A security guard stands outside a plastic tent set up to disinfect people coming in at the entrance of a residential compound, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China, on February 13, 2020.

Professor Fisher, who works at the National University of Singapore, said: "It has spread to other places where it's the beginning of the outbreak".

Two of Hubei's senior health officials were also removed Monday.

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The provincial health commission said last week that it would begin recognizing computerized tomography (CT) scan results as confirmation of infections, allowing hospitals to isolate patients more quickly.

The WHO has been able to track down the source of transmission in all but eight of the 441 cases of the virus outside China, its head of emergencies Michael Ryan said.

Another 40 people - 29 passengers, 10 crew members and one quarantine officer - have tested positive to coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined off the coast of Japan.

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.

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

"Just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment", Angela Jones, an American tourist on the ship, told Reuters. "Under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease".

The ship's operator, Carnival Corp., is among foreign companies taking a hit from the outbreak, with many flights suspended and businesses disrupted.

Across China, more than 60 million people have been affected by an unprecedented lockdown.

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