• The numbers: China reported 5,090 new cases and about 121 more people died Thursday of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, with 116 deaths in Hubei, the center of the epidemic.

Death toll in China: 1,380

Confirmed cases in China: 65,000

Global death toll: 1,383

Global confirmed cases: 65,191

Chinese health officials reported Friday morning that 121 more people died from the novel coronavirus disease, also officially known as COVID-19. At least 116 of the deaths occurred in Hubei, the center of the epidemic outbreak. There are now 1,426 fatalities in Hubei alone.

Officials also reported 5,090 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number of infections in Hubei to more than 50,000. 

On a national scale, there are now more than 63,000 confirmed cases and about 1,380 deaths in mainland China.

The disease popped up in at least 25 countries with three deaths recorded outside China: one each in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and the latest in Japan. Several countries have evacuated their citizens from Hubei and imposed a travel ban from Chinese nationals and foreigners who recently traveled from China, even including Hong Kong and Macau.

Many major international airlines suspended, reduced, or canceled flights to China and its territories while a growing list of public events has been canceled amid growing fears over the outbreak.

Japan’s First COVID-19 Death

Health minister Katsunobu Kato announced at a press conference Thursday evening the country’s first confirmed fatality due to COVID-19. She was an 80-something Japanese woman from Kanagawa Prefecture who was diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized since February 1. She contracted the disease from her son-in-law, a Tokyo taxi driver in his 70s, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

Shunned Cruise Ship Welcomed with Flowers in Cambodia

MS Westerdam Cruise ship finally docked Thursday evening at the Port of Sihanoukville in Cambodia. Hundreds of passengers disembarked and were welcomed with flowers by no more than the country’s strongman premier Hun Sen. 

The ship has been stranded at sea for two weeks after five countries from Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand over fears of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Cambodian officials boarded the cruise ship early morning that day to collect samples from the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members on board with any signs of illness or flu-like symptoms.

According to Reuters news agency, a spokesman for the country’s health ministry said none of the passengers tested positive for COVID-19.

Cambodian officials boarded the cruise ship early morning that day to collect samples from the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members on board with any signs of illness or flu-like symptoms.

According to Reuters news agency, a spokesman for the country’s health ministry said none of the passengers tested positive for COVID-19.

World Health Organization (WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus openly praised Cambodia for its show of international solidarity.

“This is an example of international solidarity we have been consistently calling for,” the WHO boss said at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday. “Outbreaks can bring out the best and the worst in people.”

Vietnam Commune in a Lockdown

According to VN Express, Vietnam’s Vinh Phuc Province placed Son Loi Commune in Binh Xuyen District under a 14-day lockdown after a three-month-old girl tested positive for COVID-19.

The commune of 10,000 residents has a total of seven confirmed cases. The online newspaper also cited standing vice-chairman Le Duy Thanh as saying that the increasing number of positive cases in the commune has prompted authorities to increase their disease control checkpoints from five to eight, apart from establishing mobile shops and distributing food and free face masks to the residents.

“Vinh Phuc has the highest number of positive cases in the country but the disease has not spread to other areas and provinces,” said Thanh

“Everything is still under control. We are putting in every effort and believe we’ll be able to contain it.”

Heads Roll

Heads rolled in the Chinese province of Hubei as Chinese state media reported the replacement of the following officials:

Ma Guoqiang, the party chief in Wuhan, has been fired

Jiang Chaoliang, the head of the Communist Party in the Chinese province of Hubei, was replaced by Shanghai Mayor (also former mayor of Hubei) Ying Yong

China’s human resources in Beijing also announced that Zhang Xiaoming has been replaced by Xiao Baolong, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), to head China’s Hong Kong and Macau affairs office.

More cases detected on the cruise ship

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said 44 more passengers onboard the quarantined Dream Princess cruise ship tested positive for coronavirus, adding the total number of cases detected on the cruise ship to 218, plus a quarantine officer who also contracted the virus.

Tokyo Summer Olympics Will Push Through

Tokyo Olympic organizers and International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials maintained that the Tokyo Olympics scheduled in July is still on, with the torch relay slated for next month.

Yoshiro Mori, the president of the organizing committee said through an interpreter, “I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering a cancellation or postponement of the games. Let me make that clear.”

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