China sees rising recovery rate of COVID-19 patients

1,113 deaths in China coronavirus over 44,000 confirmed cases

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

On Wednesday, a top US health official said it was likely the virus would establish a foothold in the United States, a very striking prediction that now makes much more sense after the latest Hubei figures. "If that were not the case, the government could not have added so many new cases in one day".

The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland has reached 44,653 by the end of Tuesday and 1,113 people have died of the disease.

Meanwhile, more than 300 health experts from around the world met at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to pool their knowledge about the new COVID-19 disease and decide which research should receive priority funding in a bid to stop the outbreak.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva that the numbers "must be interpreted with extreme caution", adding: "This outbreak could still go in any direction".

Asked about Zhong's prediction, Australia's chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said: "I think it's far too premature to say that".

Efforts are gaining pace after China shared the virus' genetic code.

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In Japan, 39 new cases were confirmed on a cruise ship under quarantine at Yokohama, bringing the total to 174 on the ship. By Wednesday, officials reported that 174 people on the ship tested positive for covid-19.

There was a happy ending for another cruise ship, the MS Westerdam, which docked in Cambodia after being denied docking rights in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines over fears one of its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew might have the virus, even though none had tested positive. State media also reported that a slew of others were expelled from the party for transgressions related to the epidemic.

Officials said the risk of the patient infecting others was low risk.

China's censors had allowed criticism of local officials but have begun cracking down on reporting of the outbreak, issuing reprimands to tech firms that gave free rein to online speech, according to Chinese journalists.

The daily count for Hubei - the epicenter of the epidemic - was more than nine times the 1,638 new infections reported there a day earlier. The virus emerged from an illegal wildlife market in Hubei's capital Wuhan in December.

Another evacuee was diagnosed with the virus earlier this week, but CDC officials said it appeared the two had been separately exposed to the virus in China before arriving in the United States. A gauge of global equities hit a record high yesterday.

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