Friday 14 February 2020 8:28 am

Coronavirus: Spike in cases limited to China, says WHO

The number of coronavirus cases are not rising significantly outside of China despite the recent increase in the Hubei province, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The total number of infections rose by 5,090 on Friday to 55,748, while the death toll rose by 121 to 1,380, the Chinese National Health Commission said.

It is a smaller increase than the 15,000 spike in coronavirus cases and 240 new deaths reported on Thursday.

Read more: Coronavirus: WHO says there is an ‘urgent’ need for vaccine

However, head of WHO’s health emergencies programme, Mike Ryan, said this was largely down to Hubei using a broader definition to diagnose people.


“This does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak,” he said.

“Most of these cases relate to a period going back over days and weeks and are retrospectively reported as cases since sometimes back to the beginning of the outbreak itself,” he said.

Outside of China there have been just 447 cases in 24 countries, he said, as well as two deaths.

Rise in Japan

The only place to have seen a jump in cases other than China is in Japan.

A cruise liner docked in the country reported 44 new cases, bringing the total number to 218.

There are 3,700 on board and not all have yet been tested. The ship is in quarantine in Yokohama.

The Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kato has indicated those over 80 and testing negative will be allowed off the ship as early as today, but will have to spend time in accommodation provided by the government.


And on Thursday, Japan also announced a woman in her 80s from Kanagawa, Tokyo, had died from the coronavirus.

She was not diagnosed until after her death and, according to Japanese media, had no obvious link to China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak originated.

Coronavirus global impact

WHO has also said there has been no major change in the mortality or severity of the coronavirus.

Its current mortality rate is around two per cent, with the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions most at risk.

The US state department, meanwhile, has said it is “deeply concerned” about the possible effect of an outbreak in North Korea, which is yet to report any cases.

Read more: Coronavirus: Hubei province leader sacked after spike in deaths

The US said it would help facilities international aid to the country.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow was also critical of the number of new cases coming out of China and the changing figures.

“We’re a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese, these numbers are jumping around,” he said.

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