Coronavirus death toll leaps by 242 in China's Hubei province

Grant Boone
February 13, 2020

Officials explained the uptick Thursday by saying they had reclassified how they were diagnosing and counting cases of COVID-19.

More than 14,800 new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in China's Hubei province - the epicentre of the outbreak.

Former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong succeeds Jiang Chaoliang as the ruling Communist Party's chief in the beleaguered province, the Xinhua state news agency reported, while Wang Zhonglin will take over from Ma Guoqiang as the party secretary in Wuhan.

As new diagnostic methods are employed, the daily number of deaths in the province more than doubled, according to Liberty Times.

Outside Hubei Province, the epicenter, China's new confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been dropping for eight consecutive days, the NHC said.

(From left) World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme head Michael Ryan, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Chair of Emergency Committee on Ebola Robert Steffen attend a combined news conference following as two-day global conference on COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine research and a meeting to decide whether Ebola in DR Congo still constitutes health emergency of worldwide concern on January 12, 2020 in Geneva.

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Hundreds of infections have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and territories, but only two people have died from the virus outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.

And Dr Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO's emergency programme, has cautioned that it is too early "to predict the beginning, the middle or end of the epidemic".

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.

Japan's health ministry says 218 of the 3,500 people on board have tested positive for the virus.

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.

The outbreak is suspected to have originated in the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan in December. "This morning, just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment", passenger Angela Jones from the USA told Reuters.

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