Coronavirus death toll and infections are rising sharply in China after Chinese authorities adopted a new method of case detection. 242 new deaths and nearly 15,000 contaminations are by far the highest figures recorded in 24 hours since the crisis began in December.
Most of the deaths occurred in Hubei province. Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic is still cut off from the world for nearly three weeks running. A cordon prevents entry and exit.
Elsewhere in China, several cities are forcing or advising their residents to stay in their homes. Many flights have been cancelled at the Wuhan airport. Internationally, dozens of airlines have reduced or suspended flights to and from mainland China.
In addition, 44 new positive cases of the new coronavirus were detected on board Diamond Princess cruise ship. This brings the total number of occupants of the ship who have been infected to 218.
The ship has been under quarantine since 3 February. Those who tested positive on board have been evacuated and hospitalized. Five are in serious condition.
Another American cruise ship, banned from docking in five Asian ports for fear of the coronavirus, finally arrived in Cambodia on Thursday. Its passengers had earlier this month embarked in Hong Kong, where nearly 50 cases had been reported.