Rise in new coronavirus cases in China reflects 'broader definition' of infection

The National Health Commission said there were 121 deaths on Thursday from the strain of coronavirus, officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation, as the number of new cases jumped by 5,090 to 63,581.

"This allows clinicians to move and report cases more quickly, not having to wait for lab confirmation, ensuring that people get to clinical care more quickly, and also allows public health responses in terms of contact tracing and other important public health measures to be initiated", Ryan added.

The new cases include 3,095 patients that are "clinically diagnosed" after the province changed its counting method.

The province, the epicentre of the outbreak, had 242 more deaths and over 14,800 new cases on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Japan confirmed another case, a Japanese man in his 70s, a day after it reported its first death from the virus.

Dozens of low-level health officials across the country have also lost their jobs for failing to contain the epidemic, which is believed to have emerged from a market in Wuhan where wildlife was traded illegally.

The reports did not give a reason for the dismissals but the two are the most high-profile Chinese officials to be removed from duty following the coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan late a year ago.

Case numbers in mainland China rise by 15,152, for a total of 59,805. People have tested positive in 28 countries.

The ship had been turned away by Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines, as well as the island of Guam, because of unsubstantiated fears the ship;s 2,200 passengers and crew had been infected. It had anchored offshore early in the morning to allow Cambodian officials to board and collect samples from passengers with any signs of ill health or flu-like symptoms.

Kudlow said President Xi Jinping had assured President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept U.S. help, but "they won't let us".

Another Labour MP who went to the conference, Lillian Greenwood, on Saturday said she is cancelling all her public engagements and is at home to be "extra cautious".

"We are a little disappointed that we haven't been invited in and we're a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese", Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters.

Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, replacing Jiang Chaoliang, the official Xinhua news agency said without explaining why Jiang was removed. They were the two highest-profile officials to be axed since the outbreak. He said the Geneva-based United Nations health agency was seeking "further clarity" from China about recent updates to its case definition and reporting protocol for the coronavirus disease outbreak.