Health Care

China sees 242 coronavirus deaths, almost 15,000 new cases in one day

A record 14,800 new cases of coronavirus were reported within 24 hours in China's Hubei province on Thursday, according to local health officials.

The province reported a dramatic spike in virus cases Thursday, raising the total number of nationwide infections to almost 60,000 after Hubei authorities changed the way they count infections - fuelling fears over a lack of transparency.

Earlier in the day world health officials cautioned against a possible glimmer of hope that the number of new cases were declining.

"The number of newly confirmed cases reported from China has stabilized over the past week, but that must be interpreted with extreme caution", said WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

All but one of the deaths recorded so far have been in China, as have more than 99 per cent of all reported infections in the world.

Tests have been taking place to see whether antiviral drugs used to treat HIV are effective against the coronavirus - however, results are only expected in a few weeks.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction".

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The atmosphere was darker, however, on the Diamond Princess in Yokohama, Japan, where the health authorities said 44 more people had been confirmed with the disease, bringing the total to at least 218 passengers and crew, as well as one quarantine officer.

A cruise ship which had spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone on board might have the coronavirus arrived in Cambodia on Thursday, satellite-tracking data showed. "This morning, just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment", passenger Angela Jones from the USA told Reuters.

"I think we will find a vaccine". The city of 11 million people remains under virtual lockdown, and other major Chinese cities are facing severe travel restrictions.

"Outbreaks can bring out the best and worst in people".

United Airlines said it would extend cancellations of all USA flights to China through late April, meaning all US passenger carriers flying to China had now cancelled flights into late April.

As he was speaking, organisers announced the cancellation of the 2020 Mobile World Congress, due to be held in Barcelona this month, due to "global concern" over the infection.

Another big event to be cancelled, moved or postponed was the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, originally set for Shanghai on April 19.

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