The coronavirus toll has soared to an alarming global rate on the second day after China changed its method for counting infections. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)
The coronavirus toll has soared to an alarming global rate on the second day after China changed its method for counting infections. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)

Coronavirus toll soars past 65,000

The coronavirus death toll has risen to 1486 with a total of 65,213 confirmed cases, making an increase on yesterday's whopping jump.

China's Hubei province reported an extra 4823 coronavirus infection cases and 116 new deaths, in the second day after the region at the centre of the outbreak changed its method for counting infections.

This was lower than the 14,840 cases that Hubei added when it first started counting patients with the new method.

Yesterday the coronavirus broke a tragic record with the deadly illness killing 242 people in China in a single day.

The 242 deaths from Hubei were more than double the announcement of the previous day.

The commission said that it had begun including cases diagnosed through new clinical methods from Thursday.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned any apparent slowdown in the spread of the epidemic should be viewed with "extreme caution".

"This outbreak could still go in any direction," he told a briefing in Geneva.

Hundreds of infections have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and territories, with three people dying from the virus outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong, one in the Philippines and one in Japan.

The biggest cluster of cases outside China is on a cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama, with 175 of about 3,700 people on board having tested positive.

The ship's operator, Carnival Corp, is among foreign companies taking a hit from the outbreak, with many flights suspended and businesses disrupted.

AUSTRALIA EXTENDS TRAVEL BAN ON CHINA

The Chinese embassy in Australia is unhappy with the federal government's "extreme" decision to extend a coronavirus-related travel ban for another week.

From Friday, foreign nationals who have been in mainland China will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days from the time they left.

"We did not take this decision lightly," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday.

"We are very mindful of the disruption and economic impacts of these arrangements, but I note Australia is one of 58 countries that has introduced some form of travel restrictions."

But the Chinese embassy said the ban should be lifted, saying the World Health Organisation didn't recommend travel or trade restrictions on China. "We express our deep regret and dissatisfaction over the Australian government's announcement," a spokesman said in a statement.

"Only Australia and a small number of countries have taken such extreme measures which are an over-reaction indeed." Australian citizens and permanent residents will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members, but they must self-isolate for 14 days from the time they left mainland China.

The restrictions will be reviewed in one week.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said the key concern was the spread of the virus, officially known as COVID-19, across China. There are now more than 60,000 confirmed cases of the virus, most of them in the province of Hubei where it was first detected, and 1357 people have died. More than 240 deaths were reported on Wednesday alone, the highest number of fatalities on a single day since the virus was first reported in December. Of the 15 cases in Australia, six have been cleared and the remaining nine are all stable.

No quarantined Australians at Christmas Island and Darwin have tested positive for the virus, with the first group of evacuees due to return home on Monday. Universities are contacting their Chinese students to ensure they understand how the extension of travel restrictions affect them and to provide support. Work is underway on extending existing domestic tourism campaigns to help businesses impacted by the downturn in foreign visitors.

An Australian public health expert is being sent to Japan to look at the handling of the cruise ship Diamond Princess' quarantine process and provide advice to the government.

More than 200 Australians are passengers on the ship, with 11 of them testing positive for the virus.

- with AAP



Young woman injured in North Deep Creek Rd crash

premium_icon Young woman injured in North Deep Creek Rd crash

A WOMAN was injured in a single vehicle crash off North Deep Creek Rd in Gympie...

We want you for the Care Army

We want you for the Care Army

How you can help protect health of one million seniors at risk

News you need: 28 days of digital access for free

News you need: 28 days of digital access for free

If you want the paper delivered as well it's just a $1 a day