Xi Jinping says battle against coronavirus making "visible progress" as death toll passes 2,000

Liu Zhiming, director of the Wuchang hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak, died of the virus, according to a statement released by local government authorities. The death toll from the virus has reached 1,873 people.

Posted: Feb 19, 2020 1:12 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2020 1:12 PM

The death toll from the novel coronavirus passed 2,000 on Wednesday, marking a grim milestone in the battle to contain the deadly outbreak, as countries across Asia registered an uptick in confirmed cases.

More than 74,000 people have now been infected by the virus in mainland China, with more than 1,000 other cases detected in 28 countries and regions.

On Wednesday morning, China reported an additional 136 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths there to 2,004, and the global death toll to 2,010.

There are now six deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, outside mainland China. Hong Kong reported that a second person had died in the semi-autonomous territory on Wednesday, according to local health authorities. The victim is a 70-year-old man who was diagnosed on February 14.

Though the vast majority of deaths continue to be centered in China, concern is growing over expanding outbreaks in Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 15 additional cases, bringing the total number to 46 -- an increase of almost 50% in one day. Singapore has at least 81 cases and Japan has 68 cases and one death, not including the more than 500 cases aboard the virus-stricken cruise ship docked in the Japanese city of Yokohama.

Amid the sudden spike in numbers, Japan's health ministry has issued guidelines for people experiencing symptoms similar to the coronavirus in an effort to to prevent worried citizens from inundating hospitals by providing them with specific hotlines to call.

China praises virus response

In China, promising signs have emerged of a potential leveling off in the rate of infection. Outside of Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the outbreak, the number of new cases dropped for the 15th consecutive day, according to the country's National Health Commission.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday that China's measures to prevent and control the epidemic "are achieving visible progress," according to state news Xinhua.

Xi said, "the battle has reached a crucial time" and China had "mobilized the entire country, and adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures," Xinhua reported.

"Thanks to those arduous efforts, the situation is witnessing positive changes," Xi said.

Headlines across Chinese state media on Wednesday morning were full of positivity, touting China's ability to get on top of the virus's spread. One commentary in Xinhua said the fight against coronavirus would "not stop China's march towards rejuvenation."

Meanwhile, Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the state media outlet Global Times, tweeted that the country was on its way to victory.

"Daily new infection cases outside Hubei fell below 100 for the first time according to data released on Tuesday. We are on the way to the victory," tweeted Hu.

But experts have warned that it is too soon to tell whether the virus is under control.

"This trend must be interpreted very cautiously. Trends can change as new populations are affected. It's too early to tell if this reported decline will continue. Every scenario is still on the table," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said during a press conference Monday.

Stringent and often draconian measures are also being ramped up in much of the country. CNN analysis found that on Chinese government orders, some 780 million people are still living under some form of restrictive movement, including all of Hubei, the northeastern province of Liaoning, and China's two most important cities, Beijing and Shanghai.

It comes as authorities make an effort to return to something like normality in many major cities and commercial hubs, with the long break forced by the outbreak taking its toll on the country's economy.

On Tuesday, Liu Zhiming, director of the Wuchang hospital in Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak, himself died of the virus, according to a statement released by local government authorities.

Liu was a neurosurgeon and the most senior health worker known to have died as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. His death could renew criticism that the government has not done enough to protect frontline medical workers, many of whom are overworked and overstretched.

Passengers start leaving Diamond Princess

Outside of mainland China, the worst single outbreak has been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, under tight quarantine for two weeks in the Japanese port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo. More than 545 of the 3,600 people on board have tested positive for the virus so far. On Tuesday, 88 new cases were reported.

On Wednesday morning local time, passengers began to disembark from the ship after Japan's health ministry ended the quarantine period.

Questions have been raised, however, over the effectiveness of the isolation procedures onboard and whether disembarking passengers could pose a risk to the public as more test positive for coronavirus after leaving the ship.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement Tuesday criticizing the quarantine efforts taken on the Diamond Princess.

"While the quarantine potentially conferred a significant public health benefit in slowing transmission, CDC's assessment is that it may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship," the CDC said.

"CDC believes the rate of new infections on board, especially among those without symptoms, represents an ongoing risk," it continued.

All American passengers and crew will not be allowed to return to the US for at least 14 days after they leave the Diamond Princess, according to a US State Department spokesperson. There are more than 100 US citizens on board the ship or in hospitals in Japan.

Late Sunday, 328 American passengers were evacuated from the ship and are now in quarantine at two US bases. Of the 14 Americans who tested positive during final screenings, 13 are being treated at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and one patient who flew into Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, is currently under isolation at a Napa County medical center.

Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and the UK are also working to evacuated their citizens off the ship.

Separately, 781 passengers from the Westerdam cruise ship are one step closer to returning home after Cambodian health authorities said they had tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

The Westerdam was refused entry from multiple ports before it was finally was able to berth in Cambodia on February 13. As of Tuesday, only 1,000 people were left onboard the ship, while another 500 or so were in Phnom Penh.

At the time, no cases of the virus had been reported aboard the ship. However, an 83-year-old American passenger tested positive for the virus in Malaysia while she was on transit home after disembarking.

The Cambodian government said the negative test results were from both passengers on the ship and in the city. Those still awaiting testing are not being held under any strict quarantine measures, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Dr. Or Vandline said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 147582

Reported Deaths: 3937
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24410780
Lake12911350
St. Joseph8651154
Elkhart8281130
Allen7756221
Hamilton5872113
Vanderburgh547750
Tippecanoe346414
Monroe316238
Hendricks3116130
Johnson2947127
Porter288948
Clark280857
Delaware277174
Vigo245534
Madison224587
Cass220120
LaPorte208853
Warrick185362
Floyd170865
Kosciusko169221
Howard155366
Bartholomew137557
Dubois133423
Marshall129826
Henry120728
Boone117748
Grant116839
Wayne114923
Hancock112844
Noble110033
Jackson106412
Morgan90840
Dearborn89528
Daviess82732
Gibson8229
Clinton80116
Shelby76929
Lawrence76732
LaGrange76114
Harrison72924
Putnam69415
Knox68610
DeKalb67411
Posey6695
Steuben5798
Miami5655
Montgomery55722
Fayette55615
White55615
Jasper5264
Greene50537
Scott50313
Decatur49339
Adams4555
Clay4266
Whitley4246
Ripley4138
Sullivan40612
Wells4045
Orange38124
Starke3787
Wabash3769
Spencer3656
Huntington3645
Franklin35925
Jennings35813
Washington3452
Randolph3318
Jefferson3275
Fulton3232
Pike31512
Carroll30513
Perry28214
Jay2756
Fountain2733
Tipton26123
Parke2152
Newton20511
Vermillion2031
Owen1991
Rush1984
Martin1930
Blackford1843
Crawford1401
Pulaski1401
Brown1283
Ohio1167
Benton1060
Union1010
Switzerland840
Warren721
Unassigned0233

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 181787

Reported Deaths: 5067
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin30590635
Cuyahoga19212671
Hamilton15890338
Montgomery9883184
Lucas8058370
Butler7856122
Summit6406260
Warren393360
Stark3605178
Mahoning3567283
Marion332149
Pickaway294646
Delaware275927
Lorain262389
Fairfield254156
Licking241065
Wood240181
Clark231654
Clermont225936
Trumbull2174134
Greene210840
Columbiana207887
Allen195873
Miami191056
Lake184757
Medina175542
Portage153067
Mercer143327
Ross130533
Wayne125968
Richland125724
Tuscarawas117822
Athens11452
Erie111453
Darke108850
Madison101314
Hancock97520
Auglaize92716
Lawrence88524
Putnam86127
Shelby85014
Geauga81950
Muskingum8174
Scioto7709
Belmont76827
Union7203
Ashtabula71348
Huron6909
Sandusky69022
Seneca57614
Preble57417
Ottawa55930
Holmes53710
Fulton4726
Henry44217
Jefferson4384
Defiance43713
Clinton42013
Jackson4197
Fayette4188
Crawford4088
Logan3923
Champaign3783
Highland3714
Ashland3705
Brown3583
Knox35215
Perry35011
Washington32423
Morrow3222
Williams3124
Hardin30913
Coshocton28612
Pike2780
Wyandot27813
Gallia27413
Guernsey2688
Van Wert2153
Meigs20512
Adams1936
Hocking1899
Carroll1887
Paulding1791
Monroe14118
Noble1120
Vinton853
Harrison763
Morgan690
Unassigned00
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