The death toll from a strain of coronavirus – also known as Covid-19 – in mainland China has increased by 97 but its daily total has again slowed, health authorities said on Wednesday.
The overall number of deaths in the country, which has been largely closed down to prevent the outbreak’s spread, rose to 1,113
The National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases had been reported over the last 24 hours, representing a second day of decline.
The total number of cases is around 45,000 globally.
In Japan, 39 more people on a quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19, the country’s health ministry said.
There are now 169 confirmed cases on the Diamond Princess, quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, among its 3,711 passengers and crew.
The fatality toll has passed the 774 people believed to have died of Sars, another viral outbreak that originated in China.
And the total confirmed cases of the new virus vastly exceed the 8,098 sickened by Sars.
Both Chinese & external expert groups are trying to identify the animal source of 2019-nCoV.— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 11, 2020
Identifying it would help to ensure that there will be no further similar outbreaks & will also help to understand the initial spread of #COVID19 in the Wuhan area, 🇨🇳 pic.twitter.com/zcZLoe5cIg
There are no licensed drugs or vaccines to treat it, though the World Health Organisation has convened a group of experts to fast-track treatment options to help slow the outbreak.
Experts, however, say it could still be months or even years before any approved treatments are developed.
In China, businesses are reeling from anti-disease measures that have closed shops, restaurants and factories and disrupted travel.
At least 60 million people in the central part of the country are in a government-ordered lockdown aimed at halting the spread of the virus.