China's new virus cases fall again, deaths now exceed 1,100

China's National Health Commission reported 97 more deaths from coronavirus and 2,015 new cases on the mainland over the last 24 hours. People wearing face masks walk at Longtan Park, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China on February 11, 2020.

China's new virus cases fall again, deaths now exceed 1,100

China on Wednesday reported another drop in the number of new cases of a viral infection and 97 more deaths, pushing the total dead past 1,100 even as the country remains largely closed down to prevent the spread of the disease.

The National Health Commission on Wednesday said 2,015 new cases had been reported over the last 24 hours, declining for a second day. The total number of cases in mainland China is 44,653, although many experts say a large number of others infected have gone uncounted.

The 97 additional deaths from the virus raised the mainland toll to 1,113.

Despite the official end of the extended Lunar New Year holiday, China remained mostly closed for business as many remained at home, with some 60 million people under virtual quarantine.

The World Health Organisation has named the disease caused by the virus as COVID-19, avoiding any animal or geographic designation to avoid stigmatisation and to show the disease comes from a new coronavirus discovered in 2019.

The illness was first reported in December and connected to a food market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak has largely been concentrated.

China's official media reported Tuesday that the top health officials in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, have been relieved of their duties. No reasons were given, although the province's initial response was deemed slow and ineffective. 

Speculation that higher-level officials could be sacked has simmered, but doing so could spark political infighting and be a tacit admission of responsibility.

Japan cruise ship cases climb to 174

An additional 39 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japan coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said Wednesday, as thousands more steel themselves for a second week in quarantine.

The ship that originally had 3,700 passengers and crew on board has become the largest single cluster of the newly named COVID-19 disease outside its origin in China.

"Out of 53 new test results, 39 people were found positive," Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters, bringing the total of cases on board to 174.

Challenging situation

The virus outbreak has become the latest political challenge for President Xi Jinping, who despite accruing more political power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has struggled to handle crises on multiple fronts.

These include a sharply slowing domestic economy, the trade war with the US and push-back on China's increasingly aggressive foreign policies.

Zhong Nanshan, a leading Chinese epidemiologist, said that while the virus outbreak in China may peak this month, the situation at the centre of the crisis remains more challenging.

“We still need more time of hard-working in Wuhan,” he said, describing the isolation of infected patients there a priority on.

“We have to stop more people from being infected,” he said.

News Source:- AP