Beijing: The number of fatalities from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1,011 nationwide on Tuesday after hard-hit Hubei province reported 103 new deaths. In its daily update, Hubei's health commission also confirmed another 2,097 new cases in the central province, where the outbreak emerged in December. There are now more than 42,200 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government.
The new virus is believed to have emerged last year in a market that sells wild animals in Hubei's capital Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with medical workers and patients affected at a hospital in Beijing on Monday, where he called for "more decisive measures" to contain the outbreak, said state broadcaster CCTV.
An advance team for a World Health Organization-led international expert mission on the virus arrived in China, headed by Bruce Aylward. He oversaw the organization's 2014-2016 response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Ahead of the team's arrival, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned there had been some "concerning instances" of cases overseas in people with no travel history to China. Britain on Monday recorded a doubling of cases to eight, and the government warned the outbreak of novel coronavirus was a "serious and imminent threat."
US President Donald Trump said he expected the outbreak would disappear in April due to hotter weather, a prognosis at odds with top US health officials.
Thousands on cruise liner freed after test
Thousands of people stranded aboard a cruise ship in Hong Kong for five days were allowed to disembark on Sunday after its 1,800 crew tested negative for coronavirus. Health authorities in the Asian financial hub said the crew and a similar number of passengers had been released from a quarantine imposed because of fears some staff could have contracted the deadly virus on a previous voyage and passed it on.
The World Dream carried three Chinese passengers to Vietnam between January 19 and 24 who were later found to be infected with the SARS-like coronavirus. The government grounded the ship on its arrival in Hong Kong while tests were carried out on the crew, but said the passengers need not undergo examination as they had no contact with the three sick holidaymakers on the January trip.