242 new deaths recorded on deadliest day of coronavirus outbreak 4 days ago

242 new deaths recorded on deadliest day of coronavirus outbreak

The official death toll has risen dramatically.

Granted the official name of COVID-19 Tuesday by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen.

242 related deaths were recorded on Wednesday in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the outbreak first emerged. 14,480 people have been officially diagnosed with the virus in Hubei, which is currently under quarantine.

135 of the deaths have been officially designated as "clinically diagnosed", according to the BBC.

The news comes after the province introduced a new method of counting those afflicted by the disease. Shortly after the latest figures were revealed, two high-ranking officials were fired from their posts.

The national death toll for coronavirus-related cases in China stands at 1,350 people. Close to 60,000 infections have been recorded since the virus was first reported in Wuhan on 31 December, 2019. 42,206 of those infections are based in Hubei.

Speaking on Wednesday, head of WHO's health emergencies programme Michael Ryan said that it is unclear precisely what stage the coronavirus is at.

"I think it's way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now," said Ryan.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, meanwhile, has stated that the outbreak "could go in any direction".

On Thursday morning, the cruise ship MS Westerdam, carrying over 2,000 people, docked in Cambodia having been turned away by five ports due to fears that passengers onboard may be infected with the coronavirus.

Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand all refused to allow the ship to dock.

218 cases of the virus have been confirmed on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is currently under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan, carrying 3,700 people onboard.