China coronavirus toll increases to 1380

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Health officials in Hubei province said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on February 12, the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December, and taking the total number of deaths to more than 1,350.

The province's health commission also repeated a huge jump in new cases, saying a further 14,840 cases had been detected in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, over the 24-hour period to midnight on Wednesday (16:00 GMT).

"It is our current understanding that the new case definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure", World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters.

Australian National University China researcher Jiang Yun (姜雲) said that the new methodology might be a "practical measure", because Hubei has a shortage of laboratory testing kits.

More than 1,300 people have died from the disease in China, WHO figures show. Three were not on a passenger list that Taiwan gave to Chinese authorities and one tested positive for the virus, Taiwan's Central News Agency has reported.

Health officials said that they looked into past suspected cases and revised their diagnoses, suggesting that older cases were also included in yesterday's numbers. The death was the third outside mainland China, after two others in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

That first group of people will be tested for the virus, and if they test negative will be taken to a quarantine housing facility, the cruise line said in a press release.

Cruise ship situation is "dynamic": There have now been 219 cases of the coronavirus found on board the cruise liner Diamond Princess, which is in quarantine off the coast of Yokohama in Japan.

It was "an example of the global solidarity we have consistently been calling for", he said. The Westerdam cruise ship anchored Thursday off Cambodia for health checks on its 2,200 passengers and crew.

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"We've seen this spike in the number of cases reported in China, but this does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak", Ryan told a briefing in Geneva.

Kudlow's comments contrasted with Trump's apparent confidence in China, with the U.S. leader telling a radio show that Xi is "extremely capable" and that the USA was "working with them" and "sending a lot of people".

Kudlow said President Xi Jinping had assured President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept United States help, but "they won't let us".

But Trump's top White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, was more critical.

The virus is believed to have emerged late past year at a seafood market in the city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife.

As for Canadians still in the centre of the viral outbreak, Champagne said all the 400 or so Canadians who wished to leave Hubei, the Chinese province that includes the city of Wuhan, have been repatriated and are quarantined in southern Ontario, at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

China's economy will grow at its slowest rate since the global financial crisis in the current quarter, according to a Reuters poll of economists who said the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained.

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