China’s death toll continues to surge, most notably in Hubei province where health officials said that nearly 250 people had died from the Covid-19 virus on Wednesday. Over 14,800 people were diagnosed with the virus.
The record rise in deaths puts the total number of fatalities in the country to over 1, 360.
The surge in cases is being put down to a new diagnostic method in Hubei which has begun using quicker computerized tomography (CT) scans, which reveal lung infections, to confirm virus cases and isolate them quicker.
Around 60,000 people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus with most of those cases in China.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday the number of infections in China had stabilized but the WHO Executive Director, Dr. Michael Ryan also urged caution.
People who have been afflicted by the virus have been in the prayers of Pope Francis who on Wednesday at his weekly General Audience asked the faithful “to pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters” who are affected by the “cruel” coronavirus epidemic.
“May they find a path to recovery as soon as possible”, he said.
In the midst of the grim figures, there was some welcome news. The cruise ship, the MS Westerdam, was allowed to dock in Cambodia after being denied entry in a number of other countries over fears that some of its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew might have the virus, despite the fact that none had tested positive.
A further 44 cases were reported on Thursday on another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess which is quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama. In all, nearly 220 of about 3,700 people on board have tested positive for the virus.