World Health Organization says Covid-19 is not as deadly as other coronaviruses

U.S. citizens wave from a bus as they leave the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal for repatriation in Yokohama south of Tokyo early Monday

They say 98 fatalities were confirmed on Monday, mainly in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

At the same time, however, cities and provinces most affected by the outbreak are facing stringent new controls, on top of existing lockdowns which have left people trapped inside their homes and unable to work.

Japan has 518 confirmed cases, including the 454 from the cruise ship, and has recorded one death from the virus.

So far, more than 456 cases have been confirmed aboard the ship, with 99 cases confirmed by Japanese health authorities on Monday.

Hubei, the central Chinese province at the center of the outbreak, accounted for 93 of the new deaths and 1,807 of the new cases.

"This trend must be interpreted very cautiously". The new coronavirus has meant yet another setback for Sihanoukville after the government previous year banned the online gambling that had helped fuel the spectacular growth of a once listless city into a major Chinese population center.

Officials in Hubei have faced increasing scrutiny about whether they intentionally downplayed reports of the virus when it emerged late past year, or ignored evidence that it was being spread from person-to-person, delaying any efforts to contain it before it was too late.

Those rates are lower than for SARS and MERS, which are caused by two similar viruses, but Covid-19 ultimately could prove more deadly if it spreads to far more people than the other two diseases.

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Monday's report gives the World Health Organisation a "clearer picture of the outbreak, how it's developing and where it's headed", WHO's director-general told a news conference.

China says about 72,000 people have been infected and more than 1860 have died in mainland China, but numbers are rubbery because the country is counting many cases based on symptoms rather than the methods World Health Organization uses.

"I would like to make a call to all cured patients to donate their plasma so that they can bring hope to critically ill patients", said Guo Yanhong, who heads the NHC's medical administration department. Cambodian officials had cleared the passengers, but Malaysian officials said a U.S. woman who had been on the ship tested positive for the virus.

The COVID-19 cases have included few children, and the risk of death has risen with age and among people with health problems.

"We are preparing Diamond Princess to return to service April 29, 2020 for the start of Japan's annual Golden Week celebrations", the company said in a statement released Saturday night.

The largest number of cases outside China is among passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined at a port near Tokyo.

Still, the virus spread quickly and global health authorities had to remain on guard against a wider outbreak, said Jimmy Whitworth, professor of International Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The numbers in China, and in other countries, are rising.

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