Death toll in China epidemic surges past 1,500

Residents wearing face masks and pyjamas are seen on a street in Shanghai China as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus

China reports major drop in new virus cases; 143 new deaths

The order comes as authorities across the country attempt to contain the spread of the deadly virus, known officially as Covid-19. Egypt on Friday counted the first infection on the African continent.

Chinese scientists are testing two antiviral drugs and preliminary results are expected in weeks, while the head of a Wuhan hospital said that plasma infusions from recovered patients had shown some encouraging preliminary results. An increase in cases has been reported in Son Loi.

The latest toll takes into account some deaths that had been double-counted, the commission said.

The ruling Communist Party is seeking to fix public trust broken in 2002 and 2003 during the SARS epidemic, which the government covered up for months.

A top Chinese official, in an interview with Reuters, acknowledged that the coronavirus was a huge challenge, but defended the government's management of it and lashed out at the "over-reaction" of some countries. Xi "stressed the need to strengthen areas of weakness and close loopholes exposed by the current epidemic", according to China Global Television Network. The death toll in China rose to at least 1,483 as Hubei reported 116 more fatalities.

The working group warned there will be legal consequences for those who do not comply with the self-imposed 14-day quarantine. It did not elaborate on how the isolation will be enforced.

In Beijing, city officials are requiring all people returning to the capital city to self-quarantine for 14-days.

Hubei province is now including cases based on a physician's diagnosis and before they have been confirmed by lab tests.

The National Health Commission said the new criteria would only apply to Hubei.

Last month, members of the Chinese public were outraged when residents of the virus epicenter, Wuhan, shared videos online showing overcrowded hospitals and people being turned away.

Several countries have banned arrivals from China and major airlines have cut services with the country.

The overall revenue growth rate at Alibaba will be negatively affected in the quarter ending this March, said Alibaba CEO Daniel Yong Zhang.

Kudlow's comments contrasted with Trump's apparent confidence in China, with the United States leader telling a radio show that Xi is "extremely capable" and that the USA was "working with them" and "sending a lot of people".

A WHO-led joint mission with China will start its outbreak investigation work this weekend, focusing on how the new coronavirus is spreading and its severity, World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The Vietnamese government ordered the lockdown of a village of 10,000 people Thursday, official media reported, making it the first country except China to impose a mass quarantine.

About 380 Americans and their families will be offered seats on two State Department flights, Henry Walke, director of the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the paper.

So far, 218 people from the ship have tested positive for the virus.

Yesterday, some of the passengers on the Diamond Princess were allowed to disembark - with priority for older passengers confined to windowless cabins - and complete their quarantine on shore.

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