Huge spike in number of coronavirus deaths

Grant Boone
February 13, 2020

That brings the total infected across China to more than 44,000.

"I think it's way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now", said Michael Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies programme.

The new classification system of COVID-19 was meant to ensure that "patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment", according to the Hubei Province Health Commission. Non-sanctioned reporting on the outbreak by actitivists is challenging the Communist Party's tightly policed monopoly on information on an unprecedented scale. "We have a window of opportunity to shut this virus down".

(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.

She said the numbers could all be revised retrospectively from December, and it now depended on whether the more severely ill patients were confirmed by lab diagnoses and therefore included in the original numbers. And a Formula One race in Shanghai in April was added to the list of canceled events.

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Tedros also praised Cambodia for agreeing to take in the Westerdam, a U.S. cruise ship that has been rejected at several Asian ports over coronavirus fears.

Holland America Line said the MS Westerdam will arrive Thursday morning in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

An additional 39 people on board the Diamond Princess have tested positive, raising the total number of cases to 174, while thousands of passengers and crew face a second week in quarantine. One quarantine officer was also found infected.

Both women were hospitalized after returning from Hainan, a tropical island in China popular with Russian tourists.

The announcement came during the World Health Organization daily media briefing on the current COVID-19 epidemic. Scientists examined samples from the newborns, including the amniotic fluid, cord blood and throat swabs, and they all tested negative for the virus.

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