Coronavirus: China death toll rises to 2118 with cases at 74,576

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Coronavirus: China death toll rises to 2118 with cases at 74,576
China's National Health Commission reported on Thursday said at least 114 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak as of the end of Wednesday, bringing to at least 2,118 the number of fatalities nationwide. 
 
The national health commission also reported 394 new confirmed cases, significantly lower than the 1,749 cases reported nationwide the previous day, bringing the total to 74,576.
 
The drop, the largest in almost a month, came after Chinese authorities changed their methodology for counting cases in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, to only include those confirmed through genetic testing. 
 
Latest updates: 
 
Australia extends ban on China arrivals into fourth week
 
Australia will extend a ban on arrivals from mainland China into a fourth week to contain the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
 
 
"The National Security Committee of Cabinet has today decided that the continuing coronavirus infections in mainland China make it necessary to continue the travel restrictions on foreign nationals entering Australia for a further week to 29 February," Morrison said in a statement.
 
China says media spreading racial discrimination must pay the price
 
Media organisations that spread racial discrimination and maliciously smear China must pay the price, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday, following Beijing's decision to revoke the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal correspondents.
 
Geng told reporters during a press briefing that China was not interested in the division of labour at the Wall Street Journal in response to a question on why it is acting against the paper's journalists, who had no involvement in the publication of a opinion column in the paper that the Chinese government found offensive.
 
Chinese Foreign Minister says virus control efforts 'are working'
 
China's efforts to control the deadly outbreak of a new coronavirus "are working", Beijing's top diplomat said on Thursday, attributing an easing in new cases to his country's "forceful action" against the illness.
 
Speaking in Laos after talks with peers from the 10 Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries, Wang Yi said the outbreak was "controllable and curable" despite the global panic it has seeded.
 
"China is not only protecting its own people but also the rest of the world," he told the summit in Vientiane, referencing a recent sharp drop in new cases of the virus inside China, where it has killed more than 2,100 people.
 
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Japan's health ministry reported on Thursday that two elderly cruise ship passengers who were hospitalised with the viral infection have died.
 
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South Korea reports 31 new cases of coronavirus, bringing total to 82
 
South Korea reported 31 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the number of people infected in the country to 82, Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.
 
Of the new cases, 23 cases were traced to church services that a 61-year-old patient who tested positive had attended in the central city of Daegu, the agency said.
 
On Wednesday, Shincheonji Church posted a statement on its website confirming 10 of its members were infected by the woman, who had attended services.
 
Two Iranians die after testing positive for virus
 
Two Iranians have died in hospital after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the central city of Qom, the head of the city's University of Medical Sciences told Iran's Mehr news agency, saying the two had died of a "respiratory illness".
 
Separately, Health Ministry official Kianush Jahanpur said in a post on Twitter that "both patients died in ICU due to age and immune system deficiency".
 
Iran had confirmed the two cases - the first in the country - earlier on Wednesday.

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