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Latest on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

(Reuters) - Here are the latest developments around the coronavirus outbreak:

- China’s death toll reached 1,367 as of the end of Wednesday, up 254 from the previous day, the country’s National Health Commission said on Thursday. Across mainland China, there were 15,152 new confirmed infections, bringing the total number to 59,805, it said.

- Cases of coronavirus are not rising dramatically outside China apart from passengers on a cruise liner now quarantined off a Japanese port, a senior World Health Organization official said on Thursday.

- Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have originated, accounted for 242 of them and confirmed 14,840 new cases, though it was amplified significantly by a switch to using quicker computerized tomography (CT) scans - which reveal lung infections - to confirm the virus.

- The surge on Wednesday 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.

- The sharp rise in the number of coronavirus deaths and infections unnerved world markets on Thursday, as traders halted the rally in stocks and retreated to the safety of government bonds and gold.[MKTS/GLOB]

- China’s Huanggang, near the epicenter of the outbreak, said on Thursday that starting from Friday it would tighten epidemic controls including sealing residential complexes and only allowing essential vehicles on roads.

- A woman has died from the coronavirus in Japan, the first such death in the country, the health minister said on Thursday. Two taxi drivers have also tested positive. Earlier, two other deaths from the virus outside of mainland China were reported in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

- Forty-four cases have been detected on the Princess Diamond cruise ship quarantined off Japan’s coast. The Japanese health minister said on Thursday the end of the quarantine was targeted for Feb. 19, but elderly passengers with pre-existing conditions or windowless rooms would be allowed to leave earlier.

FILE PHOTO: A delivery worker for Alibaba's Hema Fresh supermarket chain rides an electric bike following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

- 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.

- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rejected on Thursday Taiwan’s appeal to lift a ban on its citizens visiting the country, saying his primary concern was the safety of Filipinos.

- Vietnam has quarantined a community of 10,000 people near Hanoi for 20 days, two local officials told Reuters on Thursday.

- Hong Kong extended the suspension of schools until at least March 16.

- Major shopping mall landlords in Hong Kong are offering cuts in February rent by as much as 60% to help tenants ride out the effects of the outbreak, which has emptied shopping centers and closed down tourist attractions.

- Australia will maintain its entry ban on foreign nationals from mainland China for another week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.

- The number of confirmed cases in Britain rose to nine. The latest patient had caught the virus in China.

- U.S. officials reported the 15th case of coronavirus in the United States on Thursday, saying the patient was among those who had been evacuated from Wuhan, China, and placed under federal quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

- 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.

- The Red Cross called for an urgent exemption from sanctions on North Korea on Thursday to help prevent an outbreak.

- 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.

Compiled by Uttaresh.V, Sarah Morland, Shailesh Kuber; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Lisa Shumaker

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