The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China rose to 490 as of Wednesday, after Hubei, the province where the virus is thought to have originated, reported another 65 people had died from the flu-like infection.
China’s National Health Commission said on Wednesday the number of confirmed infections in the country rose to 24,324 after an additional 3,887 people were diagnosed with the virus.
New outbreak death toll nears 500 worldwide as confirmed cases pass 24,500 with the majority of infections in China.
Other countries have rushed to evacuate their citizens from Hubei and its capital city, Wuhan, while many have also imposed extraordinary travel restrictions on travellers to and from China.
Countries outside China continue to report more cases, with Hong Kong and the Philippines reporting one death each from the disease.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for greater solidarity among the international community, and criticised governments for being “well behind” in sharing data on virus cases.
He said he had received complete case report forms for only 38 per cent of the cases outside China.
WHO also played down media reports of “breakthrough” drugs being discovered to treat people infected with the new coronavirus.
A Chinese TV report said that a research team at Zhejiang University had found an effective drug for the virus, while Britain’s Sky News said researchers had made a “significant breakthrough” in developing a vaccine.
Asked about the reports, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said:
“There are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV (virus).