New Cases of Coronavirus Registered in South Korea

New Cases of Coronavirus Registered in South Korea

China reported its biggest drop in new cases of the new coronavirus that has killed more than 2,000 people on the mainland since the outbreak began more than two months ago.

A continued decline in the number of new cases of coronavirus infections in China is encouraging, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday (Feb 20), but it is too early to know if this trend will continue.

The National Health Commission said the Hubei figure of 349 cases in Hubei was a result of it taking out 279 clinically diagnosed patients from the tally, as they later tested negative in nucleic acid tests.

South Korea reported its first death and the number of infections nearly doubled to 104 - almost half of them from a cluster centered on a religious sect.

Over 2,000 people have died of the new coronavirus-including two former passengers of a quarantined cruise ship-in more than 75,000 cases, according to health officials.

When Hubei started adding clinically diagnosed patients on February 12, it reported 14,840 new cases - a surge from the day-earlier 1,638.

Of all cases outside China, more than half are among passengers of the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, docked at the Japanese harbour of Yokohama.

Chinese officials said this week their drastic containment efforts, including quarantining tens of millions of people in Hubei and restricting movements in cities nationwide, have started to pay off.

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"We are encouraged by this trend but this is no time for complacency", Tedros told reporters.

In yet another reversal, the sixth version of its guidelines for the calculation of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases released on Wednesday, the Chinese government said that there will no longer be a difference between the methods used by Hubei and other provinces to generate infection reports. Most cases were in China, at 74,280, in an increase of 1,752 cases. It also noted that the COVID-19 death occurred in a 63-year-old man who was hospitalized in Cheongdo, where 15 people at the facility had tested positive for the virus.

Chinese health officials expressed new optimism Thursday over the deadly virus outbreak while authorities in South Korea's fourth-largest city urged residents to hunker down as vacillating fears nagged communities far from the illness' epicenter.

Two Australians evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan had tested positive for the pathogen at a quarantine camp in the country's far north and would be hospitalized near their homes, Australia's health department said on Friday.

Richard Brennan, regional emergency director at the World Health Organization, said China was making "tremendous progress in a short period of time" but cautioned that it was not over yet.

About 600 passengers are expected to leave the ship Thursday, a day after 500 passengers disembarked Wednesday after testing negative for the virus and showing no symptoms.

At least 29 foreign citizens have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in China.

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