Here are the latest developments around the coronavirus outbreak:
*China’s Hubei province reported a record 242 deaths as of Wednesday, bringing the toll to 1,310. Daily new cases in the province jumped to 14,840, up from 1,638, the fastest rise.
*Provincial officials started using computerized tomography (CT) scans to look for infections. It had previously allowed infections to be confirmed only by RNA tests, which can take days to process and delay treatment.
*The surge came a day after China reported its lowest number of new cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by Beijing’s senior medical adviser that the epidemic will end by April.
*Asian stock markets wobbled, while safe-havens yen, gold and bonds rose after the virus toll update. [MKTS/GLOB] *Forty-four fresh cases have been detected on the Princes Diamond cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan.
*Cruise ship MS Westerdam docked in Cambodia after being denied docking rights in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines over fears one of its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew might have the virus, even though none had tested positive.
*Hong Kong extended the suspension of schools until at least March 16.
*The number of confirmed cases in Britain rose to nine. The latest patient had caught the virus in China.
*A second person evacuated from Wuhan to a U.S. Marine base near San Diego has been diagnosed with the virus, raising the tally of confirmed cases in the United States to 14.
*The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday that any apparent slowdown in the spread of the epidemic should be viewed with “extreme caution”. “This outbreak could still go in any direction,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
*North Korean media announced the quarantine period had been extended to 30 days, and that all government institutions as well as foreigners living in North Korea were expected to obey it “unconditionally”.
*Chinese scientists are testing two antiviral drugs and preliminary clinical trial results are weeks away.
*Hundreds of infections have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and territories, but only two people have died from the virus outside mainland China – one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.