Health officials in Hubei province said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on February 12, the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December, and taking the total number of deaths to more than 1,350. A total of 1,310 deaths have been reported from Hubei.
Using CT scans that reveal lung infection would help patients receive treatment as soon as possible and improve their chances of recovery, the commission said.
Hubei's party boss was replaced by Ying Yong, former mayor of Shanghai, while Wuhan's party leader was replaced by Wang Zhonglin, party secretary of Shandong province's capital, Jinan.
"This outbreak could still go in any direction", WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus warned.More news: Trump Budget Proposal Cuts Ag Spending
Information about the spread of the new coronavirus is becoming clearer, Ryan said at the World Health Organization news conference, with only eight cases worldwide in which the source of the transmission could not be explained.
The province reported a total of 14,840 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, 13,332 of which were classified as clinically diagnosed, bringing the total number of infected cases to 48,206 in the province.
US equity futures followed most Asian stock markets lower on Thursday as investors digested the sudden changes at the epicenter of the outbreak. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information allowing for identification of organisms like viruses. Chinese state media tabloid Global Times reported that an "inspection" was carried out by the central government in Hubei and "a number of local officials have been questioned and punished for failing to fulfill their duties in the prevention and control work".
Many countries have implemented travel restrictions on recent visitors to China, which has more than 99 per cent of the world's reported infections. The change in categorisation appeared to push forward the process to a doctors' on-the-spot diagnosis rather than waiting for the results of laboratory tests. In Wuhan, people with symptoms like fever and coughing wait for hours in line to get tested. He said officials do not suspect any cases of coronavirus onboard.
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More than 158,000 people who came into close contact with COVID-19 patients are being tracked in Hubei, and 77,308 people are under medical observation.
The biggest cluster of cases outside China is on a cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama, with 175 of about 3,700 people on board having tested positive.
A Vietnamese health official wearing a protective suit amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak sprays disinfectant on a motorcyle at a checkpoint in Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on Thursday.
A cruise ship turned away by five countries over fears that someone on board has the coronavirus has docked in Cambodia after two weeks at sea.
According to the ship's operator, Holland America, none of the 1,400 passengers and 800 crew members were infected with the virus.More news: February is American Heart Month!
The Westerdam began its cruise in Singapore last month and its last stop before it was refused further landings was in Hong Kong, where 50 cases of the viral disease have been confirmed.