Death toll in China coronavirus outbreak rises to 1,381

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

Infection cases and deaths attributed to the virus have been concentrated in the regional transport and business hub.

The 3,500 passengers on the ship have been under quarantine since last week, and so far 218 have tested positive for the disease, which the World Health Organization has dubbed COVID-19.

Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States, told DW that he expects new cases of coronavirus to drop between late April and early May.

Honda Motor Co. said Friday it will postpone the restart of operations at its four-wheel vehicle factories in Wuhan by one week to February 21 in line with the provincial policy, with production due to resume on February 24 or later.

Meanwhile, the official methodology for diagnosing the virus in China was changed this week, leading to a sudden leap in the number of recorded cases and deaths.

In addition, China reported 13,332 clinically-confirmed cases in Hubei province, which is believed to be the epicentre of the outbreak.

Outside China, there has been three deaths - Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan, with 447 cases in 24 countries, according to Mike Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies programme.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction", WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus warned. Earlier in the day, Hubei officials asserted that they had discovered a new way to diagnose the deadly strain.

Chris Braden, MD, who leads the CDC's on-site team, said in a statement that there is no sign of human-to-human spread at the facility, but the CDC will conduct contact tracing as part of its response. Across mainland China, there were 15,152 new confirmed infections on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 59,805.

In Cambodia, the cruise ship MS Westerdam was allowed to dock in the port town of Sihanoukville after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone on board may have the coronavirus.

Many patients reportedly have tested negative even while showing clear symptoms of the virus, such as fever and pneumonia.

Another cruise ship that has been significantly affected at sea by the deadly outbreak is the Diamond Princess that is now under quarantine.

The outbreak has led to the firing of Jiang Chaoliang as the ruling Communist Party chief in Hubei, just days after the province's top two health officials were removed from their posts.

"The patient is among a group of people under a federal quarantine order at JBSA-Lackland in Texas due to their recent return to the US on a State Department-chartered flight that arrived on February 7, 2020", the CDC said. No cases of the viral illness have been confirmed among its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members, according to operator Holland America Line.

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