BEIJING: The number of reported new cases of coronavirus in China’s Hubei province rose on Monday after two days of falls, as authorities imposed tough new restrictions on movement to prevent the spread of the disease which has now killed more than 1,700 people.
With no end in sight for the outbreak, Japan and Singapore appeared to be on the brink of recession with data on Monday pointing to possible contractions in the current quarter.
In Cambodia, hundreds of people who had disembarked from a cruise ship that docked there last week were anxiously awaiting information on when they could return home after a former passenger tested positive for the virus in Malaysia.
In Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, health officials reported 1,933 new cases and 100 new deaths on February 16, the lowest daily death count since Feb 11. The number of new cases rose nearly 5 per cent from the previous day, but the number of deaths fell from 139.
Nearly 90pc of the new cases were in the provincial capital of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the virus is believed to have originated at a market illegally trading wildlife late last year.
Across mainland China, officials said the total number of cases rose by 2,048 to 70,548, with 1,770 deaths.
Chinese health officials on Sunday said two days of falls in the number of new confirmed cases showed their efforts to halt the spread of the virus were bearing fruit, although international experts say it is too early to tell whether the epidemic has peaked. Of the 70,000-plus cases in mainland China, 10,844 people have been treated and released from the hospital.
Outside China, more than 500 cases have been confirmed, mostly of people who travelled from Chinese cities, with five deaths.
Restrictions were tightened further in Hubei on Sunday with vehicles, apart from essential services, banned from the roads and companies told to stay shut until further notice.