No peak in sight as China reports 5,000 new coronavirus cases

Grant Boone
February 21, 2020

A total of 166 new confirmed cases were reported on Saturday outside Hubei, the commission said.

Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the global joint mission with China on the novel coronavirus is moving forward, with the full team expected to reach China over the weekend.

A worker walks past in the under-construction Formula One Vietnam Grand Prix race track site in Hanoi on February 14, 2020, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin (曾益新) said that 1,716 health workers had been infected and six had died as of Tuesday, with the number of infected staff rising.

Policymakers pledged to do more to stimulate economies hit by the virus, helping Asian stock markets edge higher, with Chinese shares headed for their first weekly gain in four.

The biggest cluster of infections outside of China has been on a cruise liner quarantined in a Japanese port, with 218 people on board confirmed as infected and hospitalized.

China's death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic was revised downwards to 1,380 on Friday after officials said some fatalities had been counted a few times.

Only three other deaths have been recorded outside mainland China - in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged that the outbreak exposed "shortcomings" in the country's health emergency response system.

On Saturday, the National Health Commission reported 2,641 new cases of the COVID-19 strain, with the vast majority in Hubei. Employees must wear masks all day and report their temperature twice a day as fever is one of the virus' main symptoms.

In Taiwan, about 100 family members of people stuck in Hubei province protested outside the Mainland Affairs Council headquarters in the capital Taipei.

More than 1,700 Chinese medical workers have been infected by the coronavirus that has killed almost 1,400 people and spread around the world, a senior Chinese official announced. There were over 4,800 cases reported in Hubei on Friday.

One of the goals of the joint mission is to provide suggestions on the prevention and control of the coronavirus outbreak in China and globally, it said.

The Chinese carmakers' association said auto sales in China were likely to slide more than 10% in the first half of the year because of the epidemic.

At least 285 people on the Diamond Princess have contracted the illness but hundreds of passengers and crew have not yet been tested as they wait in a quarantine that was scheduled to end February 19.

On Friday, some of the ship's passengers were allowed to disembark - with priority for older passengers confined to windowless cabins - and complete their quarantine on shore.

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