The number of fatalities from China’s new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1,011 nationwide on Tuesday after hard-hit Hubei province reported 103 new deaths.
In its daily update, Hubei’s health commission also confirmed another 2,097 new cases in the central province, where the outbreak emerged in December.
There are now more than 42,200 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government.
The new virus is believed to have emerged last year in a market that sells wild animals in Hubei’s capital Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with medical workers and patients affected at a hospital in Beijing on Monday, where he called for “more decisive measures” to contain the outbreak, said state broadcaster CCTV.
An advance team for a World Health Organization-led international expert mission on the virus arrived in China late Monday, headed by Bruce Aylward. He oversaw the organization’s 2014-2016 response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Ahead of the team’s arrival, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned there had been some “concerning instances” of cases overseas in people with no travel history to China.
Britain on Monday recorded a doubling of cases to eight, and the government warned the outbreak of novel coronavirus was a “serious and imminent threat.”
US President Donald Trump said he expected the outbreak would disappear in April due to hotter weather, a prognosis at odds with top US health officials.
There are now over 42,000 confirmed cases in China as well as 319 cases in 24 other countries, including one death, according to WHO and Chinese health officials.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship with 3,700 passengers and crew on board remained quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama, with 65 more cases detected, taking the number of confirmed cases from the Carnival Corp-owned (CCL.N) vessel to 135.
British Airways cancelled all its flights to mainland China until the end of March.
Wu Fan, vice-dean of Shanghai Fudan University Medical school, said there was hope of a turning point in the outbreak. But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday there had been “concerning instances” of transmission from people who had not been to China.
“It could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire,” Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.
An advance team of international WHO experts arrived in China to investigate the outbreak. Its death toll has now surpassed that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed hundreds worldwide in 2002/2003.