Coronavirus death toll in China rises to 1,483

A man disinfects escalators at a shopping mall in Beijing on Thursday Feb. 13 2020

A man disinfects escalators at a shopping mall in Beijing on Thursday Feb. 13 2020

The Chinese province at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in the death toll on February 13 under a new diagnostic method, and Beijing sacked two top provincial officials after criticism of their handling of the crisis.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction", WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, the BBC reported on Thursday.

Wenliang later died from the coronavirus but became a voice of public criticism of the country's handling of the outbreak before his death.

Earlier, China reported its lowest daily number of new coronavirus cases - 2,015 - for two weeks.

China National Health Commission has said that 1,716 health workers have been infected by the coronavirus and six of them have died as of Tuesday. The ecommerce giant Alibaba warned that the epidemic is having a broad impact on the Chinese economy, while a report said the country may delay its annual political meeting.

About 55,748 people were being treated, while 1,380 people have died of the coronavirus that emerged in December past year in Wuhan, capital of central Hubei Province.

The Hubei provincial health commission suggested that the number of confirmed cases increased after it started counting the number of "clinically diagnosed" people in the province, which allows them to receive the same treatment as those who have tested positive for the illness.

The new figures for total infections gave no sign the outbreak was nearing a peak, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, an infectious diseases expert at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

But in Geneva, World Health Organization officials warned Wednesday against reaching premature conclusions on the Chinese data.

"Investors will surely avoid Asia for the time being and will shift funds to the USA, geographically the most separated from the region", said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

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. Authorities have said they will allow some elderly people to disembark on Friday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to let the Westerdam dock after Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam barred the ship over fears it might spread a virus. "It should have been done earlier", Wuhan resident Wang You told Reuters.

That's 120 additional deaths and 5-thousand newly confirmed cases on Thursday.

The authorities also said that 4,823 new cases have been reported in the province.

The number of infections globally has now risen to more than 65,000.

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

"I think we will find a vaccine", she said.

"We are a little disappointed that we haven't been invited in and we're a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese", Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters.

Provincial Communist Party boss Jiang Chaoliang was sacked as secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee, and Ma Guoqiang removed as party chief in Wuhan, state media said.

Public Health England is now said to be rushing to speak to people who may have had contact with the infected conference attendee.

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