New virus cases fall; Xi urged steps as early as January 7

The number of newly confirmed cases has been less than five for three consecutive days in eight provinces and regions, including Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang. The new deaths also included 34 who were clinically diagnosed.

The publication of the February 3 speech was an apparent attempt to demonstrate that the Communist Party leadership acted decisively from the beginning, but also opens Xi up to criticism over why the public was not alerted sooner.

The publication of Xi's speech suggests the party hopes to demonstrate it acted decisively from the beginning. Trust in the government's approach to outbreaks remains fractured after the SARS epidemic of 2002 and 2003, which was covered up for months.

Even as authorities have pledged transparency through the current outbreak, they have labelled people like Li as "rumor-mongers".

But scientists are debating how the virus, which has killed more than 1,500 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world, was transmitted to humans.

About 400 Americans aboard the cruise ship docked at Yokohama, near Tokyo, were told to decide whether to stay or take chartered aircraft arranged by the USA government to fly them home, where they would face another 14-day quarantine. Those taking the chartered planes will be taken to Travis Air Force Base in California, with some continuing to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where they will have to undergo another 14-day quarantine. The French case, reported on Saturday, was the first outside of Asia.

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Both Maguire and Lindelof will be hoping to feature for Manchester United when the Red Devils return to Premier League action with a crunch trip to Chelsea FC on Monday night.

The ship was believed to be free of the virus but an 83-year-old American woman from it tested positive on landing in Malaysia, health authorities there said.

The Chinese government has also approved field trials for experimental US antiviral drug, Remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients.

Their condition was "not of concern as of today", the ministry said.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), particularly, stated these tests won't be conducted at local hospitals in the aforementioned cities, but rather at a handful of public health labs in those metros.

"No symptomatic or infected passengers will be allowed to board", it said. Many have already made onward flight connections. Cases have spread faster than other respiratory viruses this century.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organisation praised the country's efforts to contain the new disease, saying they have "bought the world time" and that other nations must make the most of it.

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