The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak continued to climb on Wednesday and 39 more people on a cruise ship off Japan were diagnosed with the infection as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the virus – now named COVID-19 – posed a “grave threat” to the world.
The WHO is holding a conference in Geneva on combating the virus.
Its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said viruses could have “more powerful consequences than any terrorist action”.
A further 94 deaths were reported on Wednesday in the hardest-hit province of Hubei, the central region where about 56 million people are living under increasingly severe restrictions with three more elsewhere in the country, the National Health Commission said.
Deaths in mainland China now stand at 1,113 with the number of confirmed cases nationwide totalling 44,653.
Although 99 percent of the infections are in China, where the outbreak remains “very much an emergency”, and it also “holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world”, Tedros said at the conference.
Two deaths have been recorded outside mainland China – one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.
On the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship quarantined off Yokohama in Japan, an additional 39 people have tested positive for the virus, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
About 3,700 passengers and crew are on the ship.
At least 25 countries have confirmed cases and several nations have evacuated their citizens from Hubei.