China virus toll surges on switch to new methodology

Grant Boone
February 13, 2020

Beijing- The Chinese province at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in the death toll on Thursday under a new method for diagnosing cases, as health experts warned the epidemic could get worse before it gets better.

CCP's Hubei Secretary Jiang Chaoliang (蔣超良) and Wuhan chief Ma Guoqiang (馬國強) were both stripped of their titles and will be replaced by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (應勇) and former Jinan Secretary Wang Zhonglin (王忠林), respectively.

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

In breaking down the large number of new cases in China, National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said Hubei had adopted a revised diagnosis and treatment plan aimed at accelerating the identification and treatment of patients.

"A virus is more powerful in creating political, social and economic upheaval than any terrorist attack", Tedros told reporters in Geneva.

Previous diagnostic methods were restricted to nucleic acid tests, which identify genetic information to detect viruses but can take days to process. Chinese state media tabloid Global Times reported that an "inspection" was carried out by the central government in Hubei and "a number of local officials have been questioned and punished for failing to fulfill their duties in the prevention and control work".

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

Clinical cases are defined as suspected cases with CT images showing characteristics of viral pneumonia, including lung inflammation, according to the latest diagnosis and treatment program outlined by the NHC.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned any apparent slowdown in the spread of the epidemic should be viewed with "extreme caution".

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Mahmudullah was caught by Haris Sohail at the last ball of that over and Naseem completed his hattrick. He also felt that it was unfortunate that once the batsmen got in they could not go big.

The news of new deaths and infections came a day after China had said the number of new cases had dropped for a second consecutive day.

Although no passengers have fallen ill on board, the ship had been turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand over fears that someone on the cruise could have the virus.

"Just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment", Angela Jones, an American tourist on the ship, told Reuters.

Another 44 people aboard a cruise ship that has been quarantined for over a week in Japan's Yokohama harbor tested positive for coronavirus Thursday, Japanese health officials said.

Many airlines have suspended flights to China, while countries have imposed bans or quarantine for people arriving from China, disrupting businesses and playing havoc with conferences and sporting events.

In an unprecedented measure to contain the disease, recently dubbed COVID-19, the Chinese government has placed the hardest-hit cities - home to more than 60 million - under lockdown.

The Mobile World Congress, an annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona, was cancelled on Wednesday after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to coronavirus-related concerns.

The UK has confirmed its ninth case of coronavirus, saying the latest patient - the first in London - had caught the virus while in China.

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