China virus death toll nears 1,500 but new cases fall

Published: 14 Feb 2020 Updated: 14 Feb 2020   

Online Desk

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Coronavirus cases are not rising dramatically outside China despite a spike in Hubei province, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.


The only exception was on a cruise liner docked in Japan, where 44 new cases were reported, bringing the total there to 218.

There was also no major shift in the coronavirus's pattern of mortality or severity, according to the WHO.

The latest figures from Hubei recorded 116 deaths and 4,823 new cases.

That is a smaller increase than the previous day when there was a spike with 240 new deaths and nearly 15,000 new cases.

However, most of this was down to Hubei using a broader definition to diagnose people, said Mike Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies programme.

"This does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak," he said.

Outside China there had been two deaths and 447 cases in 24 countries, he said.

On Thursday Japan announced its first coronavirus death - a woman in her 80s who lived in Kanagawa, south-west of Tokyo.

The woman's diagnosis was confirmed after her death and she had no obvious link to China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, Japanese media reported.

On Thursday, the US state department said it was "deeply concerned" about the possible effect of an outbreak in North Korea, which has so far not reported any cases.

The US would facilitate assistance from US and international aid organisations to the country, the department said.

What is happening on the Diamond Princess?

The vessel is in quarantine in Yokohama. Not all the 3,700 people on board have been tested yet.

People with the virus are taken to hospitals on land to be treated, while those on board are largely confined to their cabins.

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