Latest on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

The death toll from the coronavirus in mainland China passed 2,000 on Wednesday, although new cases fell for a second straight day, as authorities tightened containment measures in the worst-hit city of Wuhan.

** China’s National Health Commission reported 1,749 new cases, the lowest daily rise since Jan. 29, bringing the total number of those infected to over 74,000, with 2,004 deaths.

** Hubei reported 1,693 new cases as of Tuesday, down from 1,807 the previous day and the number of deaths rose by 132 to 1,921.

** Outside China, five deaths and 827 cases have been reported so far. More than half of those infected were on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan.

** More than 540 people have been infected on cruise ship Diamond Princess, which originally carried some 3,700 passengers and crew, most of whom have been transferred to hospitals.

** Around 500 passengers are due to disembark the virus-hit Diamond Princess docked at Yokohama near Tokyo, ending an ordeal that began on Feb. 3.

** The Canadian government aims to evacuate nationals aboard the cruise ship on either Thursday or Friday.

** A senior Chinese health official said 1,716 health workers have been infected and six of them have died.

** The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Chinese data “appears to show a decline in new cases”, but any apparent trend “must be interpreted very cautiously”.

** Tedros said there had been 92 cases of human-to-human spread of the coronavirus in 12 countries outside China.

** Hong Kong recorded its second death caused by the virus on Wednesday.

** South Korea reported 15 new cases, bringing the total number of people infected in the country to 46.

** There are no indications that there are cases of the new coronavirus in North Korea, a WHO official said, despite South Korean media reports suggesting the outbreak had spread to the isolated country.

** Japan’s machinery orders tumbled at their fastest pace since 2018 and exports posted a 14th straight month of decline as the world’s third-largest economy grappled with the widening impact of the outbreak and a recent sales tax hike.

** Asian shares and U.S. stock futures edged cautiously higher, as investors tried to shake off worries about the epidemic after a slight decline in the number of new cases.

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