World Health Organization gives new coronavirus a name

Coronavirus deaths jump 242 in a single day the biggest increase in history

The number of people killed by the coronavirus has jumped by record numbers, as Chinese health officials said 242 people had died on Thursday - the fastest rise in the daily count since the outbreak.

The first installment of 1,400 military medical personnel touched down in the city in central China worst affected by the ongoing viral epidemic on Thursday, the Chinese Defense Ministry reported.

The province and its capital Wuhan where the infection is thought to have originated in late December also reported more than 14,800 new cases of the infection after adopting new clinical methods to diagnose the virus.

The removals are the latest in a purge that saw Hubei's two most senior health officials fired earlier this week as criticism grows over the way the outbreak has been handled, with claims of under-reporting. Earlier in the day, Hubei officials asserted that they had discovered a new way to diagnose the deadly strain. But it was not immediately clear how the new methodology changed the results, nor why the death toll suddenly leapt up so high.

People wearing masks are seen at a shopping mall in downtown Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, Wednesday.

The world must "wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one", WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday, adding the first vaccine was 18 months away. So far, 219 of about 3,700 people on board have tested positive. It also requires a quarantine of U.S. citizens who have recently visited Hubei province in China.

Thailand refused to allow the Westerdam to dock this week after it had already been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Guam over virus concerns.

Hospital Wuhan City Hubei Province China while the crisis continued to develop yesterday
Hospital Wuhan City Hubei Province China while the crisis continued to develop yesterday

An additional 44 people on board the Diamond Princess have tested positive, raising the total number of cases to 218, while thousands of passengers and crew face a second week in quarantine.

"This morning, just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment", Angela Jones, an American tourist on the ship, told Reuters.

The city of 11 million people remains under virtual lockdown.

The deadly disease has so far killed more than 1,100 people with infected nearly 60,000, mostly in China.

In Spain, organisers of the world's top mobile telecommunications trade fair, the World Mobile Congress, said the event would be cancelled following an exodus of industry heavyweights over coronavirus fears.

Hong Kong, where 50 cases have been confirmed, extended the suspension of schools to March 16.

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