242 people died last day in the Hubei province of China as a result of complications from the Corona virus, state health authorities said Thursday. This is a sharp increase in the number of deaths, and in fact this is the highest daily number of victims since the deadly virus erupted in the province last December. As a result, the death toll in China jumped to 1,355. Hundreds of cases of infection have been reported in 26 countries around the world, of which two have died – in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
In addition to the death toll, China reported close to 15,000 more people diagnosed with the virus in the past day. This is an unusual increase in the number of patients, after a day earlier the number of infected persons rose by only 2,000. According to the Chinese authorities, the jump in the number of infections is due to a change in the method of diagnosis of the virus in Hubei Province. The new method, which uses CT exams, is designed to more quickly identify the infected people. So far, more than 48,000 cases of infection have been reported in Hubei Province, and more than 60,000 have been found throughout China.
Yesterday, cautious optimism prevailed in China, after the lowest daily increase in infections since the end of January. Senior Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan estimated that the outbreak of the virus will peak this month, but will gradually wane and erupt around April. However, the World Health Organization has warned against complacency. The organization’s chief executive, Tadros Adhnum Grabhisos, said the outbreak could be developing “in any direction.”
The Diamond Princess Quayside, which is quarantined off the coast of Japan, saw 44 more people being treated as Corona patients. The number of cases of contamination on the ship reached 218. At this stage it is not known whether one of the 15 Israeli passengers is also among the new passengers. The Foreign Ministry yesterday appealed to the Japanese authorities to remove Israeli citizens from the ship and look for other alternatives for isolation. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said yesterday that the possibility of returning them to Israel was being considered. This morning, the minister will hold a special hearing in his office on the matter.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the number of patients in Corona has risen to 9, after the first infection case was verified in London. This is a British citizen who was infected with the virus while in China. In the United States, a second case of infection at the San Diego Marine Corps Base was reported to have been evacuated to U.S. citizens staying in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province. As a result, the number of infections across the United States increased to 14.