The death toll in China from the new coronavirus epidemic jumped on Wednesday, as the chief of the World Health Organization urged countries to work together against the "grave threat" posed by the outbreak.
However, the number of new cases - 2,015 - has declined for a second day.
With scientists still learning about how the pathogen spreads and where it came from, one thing that the United Nations health agency was able to say with certainty was that the disease has been officially named Covid-19.
The high-level appointments follow the sacking earlier this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission.
Previously, confirmation depended on a laboratory test - a time-consuming requirement that left a large backlog of untested, suspected cases. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information allowing for identification of organisms like viruses. - 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 sharp increases came after Hubei authorities said they had introduced using a new, quicker diagnostic method using computerized tomography (CT) scans, which the NHC said had diagnosed 13,332 of the new infections. At least 135 cases of infection have been confirmed on board, with the ill removed and taken to the hospital.
The city of 11 million people remains under virtual lockdown.
"This Wuhan epidemic shows that the situation has not really improved", said Willy Lam, an expert in Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Chinese President Xi Jinping promised tax cuts and other aid to industry as the ruling Communist Party tries to limit the mounting damage to the economy.
"Thank you Communist Party".
Dozens of low-level health officials across the country have also lost their jobs for failing to contain the spread of the epidemic.
"This outbreak could still go in any direction", WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, the BBC reported on Thursday.
There are now more than 42,200 confirmed cases across China.
The others were placed under home quarantine. "In Singapore, we are at the beginning".
Tedros added that the number of newly reported cases has stabilized over the past week.
So far, the virus has infected over 45,000 people worldwide - although 99 percent of the cases have occurred within China and only two fatalities have been reported outside the Chinese mainland.
He said a WHO-led advance team that traveled to China this week had made good progress on the composition and scope of its work.
They also plan to remove passengers who are aged 80 or above, or have an existing serious illness, or are staying in rooms without windows.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters five of the patients who were already sent to hospitals for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 have severe symptoms and are on artificial respirators or under intensive care.
All nine women were in their third trimester and had tested positive for the virus. "If we don't we could have far more cases and far higher costs on our hands", Tedros said.
However, it was very likely that the virus was passed on indirectly from the small winged mammals to humans via some intermediate species, she added.
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