Why did China's COVID-19 cases suddenly rocket?

WHO exterior

WHO exterior

China took action on two fronts to gain control of the spiraling coronavirus outbreak gripping the country: reporting a dramatic increase in cases and ousting top officials who failed to check the disease's expansion.

CCP's Hubei Secretary Jiang Chaoliang (蔣超良) and Wuhan chief Ma Guoqiang (馬國強) were both stripped of their titles and will be replaced by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (應勇) and former Jinan Secretary Wang Zhonglin (王忠林), respectively.

The province and its capital Wuhan where the infection is thought to have originated in late December also reported more than 14,800 new cases of the infection after adopting new clinical methods to diagnose the virus.

Under criticism at home over the handling of the crisis, China's Communist Party sacked two top-ranking officials in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. Wuhan residents said hospitals were overcrowded and lacked sufficient medical supplies.

"The stabilization in cases in the last number of days is very reassuring and it is to a great extent the result of the huge public health operation in China", he said.

Health officials added that four vaccines for the virus are in development.

One of the new cases was a quarantine officer.

At least 1,355 people have now died and almost 60,000 have been infected in China after Hubei's health commission reported the new numbers.

"For the moment we don't see any reason to have shortages in the following months, said De Block".

Across China, more than 60 million people have been affected by an unprecedented lockdown. - The UN health agency on February 12 cautioned it was "way too early" to say whether COVID-19 might have peaked or when it might end, following a drop in the number of new cases. The claim is false; the World Health Organization confirmed COVID-19 is an abbreviation of "coronavirus disease 2019" and said that geographical locations are not included when naming diseases to avoid stigmatisation. "We are not planning any such changes", said Union Minister of Health, Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday.

Tedros said a WHO-led advance team that traveled to China this week had made good progress on the composition and scope of its work.

The US is also limiting flights from China or other global flights with US passengers who have been to China within the previous 14 days to 11 major airports for enhanced screening. Vietnam has confirmed 16 cases of the diseases, a lot of them in Son Loi.

Meanwhile, Japan's health ministry announced Thursday that 44 more people on a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Another cruise ship, the Westerdam, finally anchored Thursday off Cambodia after being turned away by several Asian and Pacific governments. No cases of the viral illness have been confirmed among its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members, according to operator Holland America Line.

Dr Tedros also praised Cambodia for taking in the Westerdam, a U.S. cruise ship that had earlier been turned away from ports in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan despite having no sick patients on board.

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