"Is transmission happening or is it not?"
Residents wearing masks wait at a traffic light in Beijing, China Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.
People inside China and around the world have raised questions about the initial response to the coronavirus outbreak.
An unknown number have died from the viral disease - known as COVID-19 - without ever having been recorded as a confirmed case.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned any apparent slowdown in the spread of the epidemic should be viewed with "extreme caution".
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters five of the patients who were already sent to hospitals for isolation and treatment have severe symptoms and are on artificial respirators or under intensive care.More news: Coronavirus: 'Way too early' to predict end of outbreak, World Health Organization says
The sudden jump in numbers came mostly from Hubei province - the epicenter of the epidemic - with an increase of 14,840 confirmed cases, more than nine times the 1,638 new infections reported there a day earlier. That appears to count cases based on doctors' analyses and lung imaging rather than relying exclusively on laboratory test results.
Hubei's new counting methodology might be a legitimate attempt to be more transparent, analysts said, but the immediate effects were to sow more distrust.
The central province's health commission reported 116 more deaths and 4,823 new cases, the majority involving "clinically diagnosed" patients.
China sacked two top officials in Hubei province hours after the new figures were revealed. Those followed the sacking earlier in the week of two leaders of the provincial health commission and reports from state media of a slew of others expelled from the party for missteps related to the epidemic.
The public has widely criticized local officials for failing to respond quickly and decisively to the new virus.
Officials at the apex health agency on Thursday said they are studying natural history of the virus, its transmission and diagnosis, conducting animal and environmental research on the origin of the virus including measures at the human-animal interface and epidemiological studies.More news: Apple Might Launch AirPods Pro Lite Wireless Earbuds This Year
"It is not clear if the problem up to now, on this issue, was lack of transparency or simply bad medical practice", Crane said. "So you have to be a bit skeptical when you see these changes in case definition".
"I think they've handled it professionally, and I think they're extremely capable", Trump said in a podcast broadcast on iHeart Radio.
Officials in Hubei have been heavily criticized for their handling of the epidemic in a province of nearly 60 million people.
"It doesn't have too much of an impact on our life, except that we're not allowed to go out", she said.
The death toll from the coronavirus is higher than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-03, which is believed to have killed 774 people and sickened almost 8,100 in China and Hong Kong.
The total number of cases has now risen to 63,851.More news: Gallinari scores 29 points to carry Thunder past Pelicans