Health Care

China's Hubei, Wuhan Communist Party chiefs removed amid epidemic

China's Hubei, Wuhan Communist Party chiefs removed amid epidemic”

There are now more than 60,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with all but about 500 in mainland China.

Health officials announced Thursday they had begun including people diagnosed using new clinical methods in official statistics. Previously, infections were only allowed to be confirmed with nucleic acid tests, which can take days to process, but Hubei province is now using CT scans which can diagnose the virus more quickly.

Health authorities in Hubei announced an additional 242 deaths and 14,840 cases of the virus, known officially as Covid-19, as of Thursday morning, the largest single-day rise since the epidemic began and nearly ten times the number of cases confirmed the previous day.

Amid the ongoing epidemic, Chinese authorities have reportedly relieved Hubei party secretary Jiang Chaoliang of his duties and appointed incumbent Shanghai mayor Ying Yong as the new secretary of the Communist Party of China, local media said Thursday.

Criticism intensified after the death of a doctor who had tried to raise the alarm about the outbreak in December, but was silenced by authorities. That brings the country's total death toll to 1,367 as the number of people infected hit 59,804, according to the government.

The appointments follow the sacking earlier this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission.

"It is not clear if the problem up to now, on this issue, was lack of transparency or simply bad medical practice", Crane said.

The spike in the death toll came a day after markets were cheered when China reported its lowest number of new cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by the country's senior medical adviser that the epidemic could end by April.

China had been praised by the World Health Organization for its transparent handling of the outbreak, in contrast to the way it concealed the extent of the deadly SARS virus epidemic in 2002-2003.

The case of a British man who passed on the virus to at least 11 other people - without having been in China - has raised fears of a new phase of contagion overseas.

In Vietnam, official media reported that a commune of 10,000 residents northwest of the capital Hanoi was put in lockdown due to a cluster of cases there.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction", he told reporters. Vietnam has confirmed 16 case of the diseases, a lot of them in Son Loi. The ship has 218 infections among its 3,700 passengers and crew.

A cruise ship turned away by five countries over fears that someone on board has the coronavirus has docked in Cambodia after two weeks at sea.

The Westerdam began its cruise in Singapore last month and its last stop before it was refused further landings was in Hong Kong, where 51 cases of the viral disease have been confirmed.



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