Confirmed COVID-19 cases reach nearly 60,000 in China

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• Large jump in number of confirmed cases in China

• 44 new cases aboard cruise ship quarantined in Japan

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• Cruise ship shunned over coronavirus finally docks in Cambodia

• Xi deploys 2,600 more military doctors to Wuhan, epidemic ground zero

• Wartime measures declared in the city of Shinyan in Hubei province

• Coronavirus set to knock oil demand growth, as markets fall


A large jump in number of confirmed cases in China

China’s Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, reported a stark rise in the number of new cases Thursday, dashing hopes that the epidemic may have been slowing down.

Health officials in Hubei reported 14,840 new cases, most of them in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province where the virus is believed to have originated.

The province also said another 242 people had died from the coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total there to 1,310. Tuesday’s death toll in the province was 1068.

This took the total number of deaths in mainland China to 1,367, an increase on the 1,113 figure reported Wednesday.

Across mainland China, there were 15,152 new confirmed infections on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 59,805, a significant jump that’s sure to raise concerns about the true scale of the epidemic in China. — Yuliya Talmazan

44 new cases aboard cruise ship quarantined in Japan

Forty-four more people have been confirmed to have novel coronavirus from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan, bringing the total number to 219, Japan’s health ministry said Thursday local time.

The toll includes one quarantine officer who tested positive Wednesday.

An ambulance is driven in front of the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Daikoku Pier on Feb. 12, 2020 in Yokohama, Japan.Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images

The Diamond Princess is being quarantined off Yokohama, and testing began after a man who was on the ship last month later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The nationalities of the 44 newly diagnosed people were not immediately identified, but the overall cases from the cruise ship include at least 32 Americans.

Of all the people from the cruise ship who have tested positive for the coronavirus so far, five are considered to be in serious condition, Japan’s health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said.— Arata Yamamoto

Cruise ship shunned over coronavirus finally docks in Cambodia

A cruise ship which had spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone aboard may have the coronavirus arrived in Cambodia on Thursday.

The MS Westerdam, which has 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board, arrived at an anchoring point in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville early on Thursday morning, according to data published by the Marine Traffic website.

Although no one on board has fallen ill, the ship had been turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand over fears that someone on the ship could have coronavirus.

Most passengers will be able to disembark and begin their journey home via chartered flights from Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital starting Thursday. Reuters

Xi deploys 2,600 more military doctors to Wuhan, epidemic ground zero

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced the deployment of 2,600 more military medical personnel to Wuhan, Chinese state media reported Thursday.

This marks the third deployment of military medics in the effort to contain the outbreak, state-run CGTN reported Thursday.

The newly sent personnel will be in charge of patients at Wuhan’s Taikangtongji Hospital, which is set to open 860 new hospital beds, and Hubei Provincial Women and Children’s Hospital, set to open 700 beds, according to CGTN. Eric Baculinao

Wartime measures declared in the city of Shinyan in Hubei province

“Wartime control measures” were announced Wednesday in the Zhangwan District in the city of Shiyan in Hubei province, northwest of Wuhan, and will be implemented on Thursday.

The measures, which include the closure of all buildings, will last for at least 14 days.

This is the first time Chinese authorities have announced such control measures publicly since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Those who defy the measures will be detained, local authorities said. — Leou Chen

China replaces top official in Wuhan

The secretary of the provincial Communist Party committee of Hubei province Jiang Chaoliang has been removed from his position, according to Chinese state media on Thursday. The position will be replaced by Ying Yong, the former mayor of Shanghai.

Jiang’s departure follows the firing of two other senior officials in Hubei.

The public has widely criticized local officials for their handling of the outbreak. — Eric Baculinao and the Associated Press

Hong Kong schools to remain closed until mid-March amid virus fears

Hong Kong’s education secretary said Thursday schools will stay closed until at least March 16 in an effort to prevent the spread the deadly virus.

Secretary of Education Kelvin Yeung said in a news conference that further assessment is needed to determine when schools will reopen.

Hong Kong has shut all but two of its land and sea border points to mainland China and on Saturday, began enforcing a 14-day quarantine on arrivals from the mainland to try to prevent the spread of the virus.— Associated Press

Coronavirus set to knock oil demand growth, as markets fall

Oil demand this year will see the slowest rate of growth since the 2009 financial crisis, as the coronavirus outbreak hits Chinese consumption and its impact spreads across the international economy.

“The consequences of COVID-19 for global oil demand will be significant,” the International Energy Agency said in a monthly statement Thursday.

Feb. 13, 202002:01

More generally, transport shutdowns and a halt in industry in China are expected to hit exports and the broader global economy.

The sharp rise in the headline number of deaths and infections unnerved world markets, according to Reuters, as traders have halted a recent rally in stocks and retreated back to the safety of government bonds and gold. — Reuters

740 South Korean soldiers quarantined

South Korea quarantined 740 soldiers Thursday as a precautionary measure relating to coronavirus fears, according to the South Korea Defense Ministry.

“We have 740 soldiers, who have visited China or were in contact with confirmed patients of COVID-19 under the self-imposed quarantine. But, so far, no South Korean soldiers has been infected by the COVID-19,” a defense ministry official told NBC News. — Stella Kim