UN chief: New virus outbreak is 'a very dangerous situation'

Coronavirus cruise ship

Wuhan's Deadly Coronavirus Spreads to the World

Chinese state television said Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, died at 10:30 a.m, the seventh health worker to fall victim. A total of 7,862 patients were discharged from hospitals.

"It's too early to tell if this reported decline will continue".

In China, where the flu-like virus originated late a year ago, state media reported that Hubei province would adopt more forceful measures to find patients with fever to help contain the epidemic, on top of steps already taken to isolate the province.

The number of new cases in mainland China excluding Hubei has now fallen for 15 straight days. "Every scenario is still on the table", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Mainland China had 1,749 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the country's National Health Commission said on Wednesday, down from 1,886 cases a day earlier and the lowest since January 29.

"The state health committee has received from 31 provinces. information about 74,185 confirmed cases of infection with the new type of coronavirus, of which 57,805 people are now infected (11,977 people are in serious condition), 14,376 people have been discharged from hospitals and 2,004 have died", the committee said.

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When pushed as to why the WHO didn't have the necessary information, Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said it wasn't due to a lack of transparency but was caused by countries prioritizing dealing with the current "public health challenge" and difficulties gathering and collecting data, including privacy laws. Severe symptoms such as pneumonia occurred in 14% of them and critical illness in 5%. The paper examines more than 44,000 confirmed patients, finding over 80 percent of cases are only mild in severity.

The WHO has sought to reassure the global community, noting that the novel coronavirus - which has a two percent mortality rate - is "less deadly" than its cousins, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the WHO said.

People in face masks shop for eggs at Shengfu Xiaoguan Market in Beijing.

The flu's mortality rate is 0.1%, yet it kills hundreds of thousands around the world each year because it infects millions.

Tedros said there were "relatively few cases" among children and more research was needed to understand why. Huge numbers of people will soon be returned to work and school after the extended New Year holiday.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government said the more than 100 American passengers who stayed on the ship or were hospitalized in Japan would have to wait for another two weeks before they could return to the U.S. Other countries have similar policies for their returning passengers.

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Confirmed cases were to be sent to hospital, while those who shared cabins with infected passengers may still be kept on board. Chinese officials have said the apparent slowdown in infection rates is evidence that the strict measures are working.

More than 72 000 people have now been infected in China and hundreds more overseas, although the World Health Organization stressed the disease has infected a "tiny" proportion of people outside its epicentre and the mortality rate remains relatively low.

Most of the 1,770 who have died in mainland China were in that region, but officials have confirmed multiple deaths elsewhere, including the capital Beijing. Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan have each reported one fatality, while France on Saturday announced the first death outside Asia, an elderly Chinese tourist.

The viral outbreak gripping China has claimed over 2,000 lives - the vast majority in Hubei province, the epicenter of the illness - according to the latest official tally.

The fatalities include a U.S. citizen.

The biggest cluster of bacterial infections exterior of China is on a cruise ship in quarantine off Japan, where additional than 540 out of 3,700 passengers and crew have examined constructive.

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