China picks new provincial leaders in virus epicenter

Coronavirus cases appeared to be levelling off over the past week; unfortunately, that's no longer the case

The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak leaps by a record 254 to 1,367, and the total number of nationwide infections reach almost 60,000 after the adoption of new methodology for diagnosis.

The province reported a dramatic spike in virus cases Thursday, raising the total number of nationwide infections to almost 60,000 after Hubei authorities changed the way they count infections - fuelling fears over a lack of transparency.

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.

China's National Health Commission puts death toll from coronavirus outbreak at 1,367, up 254 from a day earlier.

Health officials reported 14,840 new cases-reversing several days of declines in official new diagnoses in the province.

The dramatic jump in today's numbers is teh result in the new classification, for a total 13,332 cases and just over half of the new death toll. According to the country's leading epidemiologists, the move was created to help fix loopholes in curbing the spread of the epidemic.

The sharp rise in reported cases illustrates how hard it has been for scientists to grasp the extent and severity of the coronavirus outbreak in China, particularly inside the epicentre, where thousands of sick people remain untested for the illness.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization director general, said at a press conference.

On Thursday, the leaders of Hubei and Wuhan were sacked, the highest-profile political casualties of the crisis.

"We are not defenceless", Tedros said, adding: "If we invest now. we have a realistic chance of stopping this outbreak". He said officials do not suspect any cases of coronavirus onboard.

China sees rising recovery rate of COVID-19 patients
In Japan, 39 new cases were confirmed on a cruise ship under quarantine at Yokohama, bringing the total to 174 on the ship. Health officials reported 14,840 new cases-reversing several days of declines in official new diagnoses in the province.

Singapore has 50 cases, including one found at its biggest bank, DBS, on Wednesday that caused an evacuation at the head office.

Tedros said a WHO-led advance team that traveled to China this week had made good progress on the composition and scope of its work.

With testing kits in short supply amid the outbreak, however, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the government is now simply relying on diagnoses from doctors and health professionals in order to treat patients faster.

The ship's operator, Carnival Corp., is among foreign companies taking a hit from the outbreak, with many flights suspended and businesses disrupted.

The cruise ship Diamond Princess, where dozens of passengers were tested positive for coronavirus, is seen at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan on February 10, 2020.

Cambodia agreed to let it land, the Holland America Line said.

"I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering a cancellation or postponement of the games".

He says, "We really can not say whether it will get better, whether it will get worse, what sort of situation is going to unfold".

Across China, more than 60 million people have been affected by an unprecedented lockdown.

The Chinese Grand Prix was to have taken place in Shanghai from April 17 to 19.

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