Coronavirus: Senior Chinese officials 'removed' as death toll rises

Confirmed new coronavirus cases near 64,000 in China

China's National Health Commission (NHC) releases the official figures of the new coronavirus cases confirmed for mainland China as of end February, 13.

In Singapore, which reported its biggest jump in cases to date on Thursday - up eight to 58 - authorities were scrambling to find "patient zero" - the person who carried the disease into a company meeting last month, setting off a chain of infections linked to five other countries.

The nationwide toll rose to 1,380 on Friday, although 108 deaths in Hubei were removed from the tally after being double-counted.

Some 242 deaths from the new coronavirus were recorded in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday, the deadliest day of the outbreak. The daily death toll nearly halved when compared to Wednesday's 14,840.

The skyrocketing number of new cases in Hubei comes after health officials announced Thursday they had begun including people diagnosed using new clinical methods in official statistics.

Almost 64,000 people are now recorded as having been made ill by the virus in China, with the last two days showing a steep rise after a change in diagnostic methods.

Paul Hunter, a professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia in England, expressed frustration with the revised numbers from China, but said he believed it did not represent an increase in the rate of infections.


China's Communist Party has replaced the party heads in the coronavirus-stricken province of Hubei and its capital Wuhan, state media said on Thursday, reporting the most high profile officials to lose their posts following the epidemic.

In Japan, officials say an 80-year-old woman who died in a hospital on the outskirts of Tokyo has become the nation's first coronavirus fatality.

It also followed the sacking on Tuesday of two top health officials in Hubei - Zhang Jin, party chief of the Hubei Health Commission, and Liu Yingzi, provincial health commission director - over their flaws in responding to the epidemic.

As of Friday, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (203), Hong Kong (53), Singapore (50), Thailand (33), South Korea (28), Taiwan (18), Malaysia (18), Germany (16), Vietnam (16), Australia (15), the USA (14), France (11), Macau (10), the United Kingdom (nine), the UAE (eight), Canada (seven), India (three), the Philippines (three), Italy (three), Russian Federation (two), Spain (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Sweden (one) and Belgium (one), according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The CT scans reveal lung infections, the Hubei health commission said, and enable confirmation and faster isolation of new virus cases. Wuhan residents said hospitals were overcrowded and lacked sufficient medical supplies.

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

China has stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Vietnam has confirmed 16 cases of the diseases, majority in Son Loi. No cases of the viral illness have been confirmed aboard, according to the ship's operator. The Westerdam cruise ship anchored Thursday off Cambodia for health checks on its 2,200 passengers and crew.

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