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China reports 5,090 new coronavirus cases in mainland, 121 new deaths

Confirmed new coronavirus cases near 64,000 in China Column: Misinformation spreads faster than the coronavirus
Ginger Lawrence | 14 February, 2020, 13:44

The grim new tally came a day after China had reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by Beijing's senior medical adviser for the outbreak to end by April. There have been inaccurate reports of the death toll being 112,000 in China as of late January, when in reality it was only around 80 at the time.

Hubei authorities have been criticized fiercely for not having responded to the deadly virus in the early stage of the outbreak, which, as of Thursday, had killed 1,368 people and infected more than 50,000 in China. The daily death toll nearly halved when compared to Wednesday's 14,840.

The shakeup followed a huge surge of confirmed infections in China on Wednesday, with most of the cases in Hubei.

Though there are many unanswered questions related to coronavirus, the sudden spike in number of new patients in mainland China has fuelled concerns over the actual situation in the country.

"It is our current understanding that the new case definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure", World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters.

Some 55,748 people are being treated, while 1,380 people have died of the virus that emerged in December in Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei.

More than 13,000 of the newly-reported infections were a result of the new way of counting.

Japan confirmed its first coronavirus death on Thursday - a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa, near Tokyo.

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On Thursday, following the release of the new figures, Chinese state media announced that the party secretary of Hubei province, Jiang Chaoliang, was sacked and would be replaced by the mayor of Shanghai, Ying Yong.

"We strongly support and encourage the work of USA and worldwide aid and health organizations to counter and contain the spread of coronavirus in the DPRK", spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement after the Red Cross called for an urgent exemption to sanctions on Pyongyang to help prevent a coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has ordered a lockdown on a community of 10,000 residents northwest of the capital Hanoi, becoming the first location outside of China to have ordered a quarantine for at least 20 days. An increase in cases has been reported in Son Loi.

Many critically sick patients with symptoms but no confirmation of infection had complained that they were being turned away from hospitals.

A CCTV reporter stands near the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, February 13, 2020, in Yokohama, near Tokyo. The ship has 218 infections among its 3,700 passengers and crew.

Passengers on another cruise ship that spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over coronavirus fears started disembarking in Cambodia on Friday.

The Westerdam began its cruise in Singapore last month and its last stop before it was refused further landings was in Hong Kong, where 50 cases of the viral disease have been confirmed.