China coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS

China's daily death toll from a new pneumonia-causing coronavirus has topped 200 for the first time, bringing the total on the mainland to 1,355, according to data released by local health authorities on Thursday.

Ying Yong, former Shanghai mayor and deputy Party chief of the municipality, has been appointed secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), replacing Jiang Chaoliang, according to a decision by the CPC Central Committee.

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

"This outbreak could still go in any direction", World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.

"Previously, we mainly relied on nucleic acid tests to confirm whether a patient is infected with the virus".

As the figures soared in China, a troubling new front opened overseas as neighbouring Vietnam placed 10,000 people under quarantine after six COVID-19 cases were discovered in a cluster of villages - the first such action taken in a country other than China.

The head of the Communist Party in the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicentre of a coronavirus, has been relieved of duty, the official Xinhua news agency reported. This figure now includes more than 13,000 cases of "clinical diagnosis" in Hubei, which appears to include those based on a doctors' analysis combined with lung imaging, as opposed to waiting for laboratory test results.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on February 12 the number of cases of infection in China had stabilized but it was too early to say the epidemic was slowing.

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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.

Results from Chinese trials testing a combination of antiviral drugs used to treat HIV against the new coronavirus are due in weeks, but experts say a vaccine could still be months away.

Thailand refused to allow the Westerdam to dock this week after it had already been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Guam over virus concerns.

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.

China has handled the new coronavirus outbreak in a transparent and "highly responsible" way, the country's United Nations ambassador said Wednesday, after criticism that local authorities did not react quickly enough. 58 people have tested positive for the virus in Singapore, including a 62 year-old male employee of DBS Bank and a 30 year-old member of his family.

The Chinese Grand Prix was to have taken place in Shanghai from April 17 to 19.

In Spain, organisers of the world's top mobile telecommunications trade fair, the World Mobile Congress, said the event would be cancelled following an exodus of industry heavyweights over coronavirus fears.

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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