Ninety-seven people died due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China on Tuesday, taking the overall toll to 1,113 across the country, AFP reported on Wednesday. All these deaths were reported from Hubei province, which has emerged as the epicentre of the outbreak. The province also confirmed 1,638 new cases. With this, there are now 44,653 confirmed cases of the disease across China.

The virus is believed to have originated in a live seafood market in the province’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province. Its symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The novel coronavirus causes respiratory illness, and is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which had also emerged from China in 2002. SARS killed 774 people around the world.

39 more aboard cruise ship test positive

Meanwhile, 39 more people on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which has been quarantined off Japan since February 5 because of fears of the virus outbreak, tested positive, Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Wednesday. There are now 174 confirmed cases of the disease aboard the ship. There are more than 100 Indians onboard the ship.

“Out of 53 new test results, 39 people were found positive,” Kato said. He added that a quarantine official had also been infected. “At this point, we have confirmed that four people, among those who are hospitalised, are in a serious condition, either on a ventilator or in an intensive care unit,” he said.

Virus gets a new name

The World Health Organization on Tuesday officially named the disease COVID-19 at a conference in Geneva. The “co” is to indicate corona, “vi” indicates virus and “d” is for disease.

Its Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that though 99% of the cases were from China, it still remains an emergency and “holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world”. He also urged countries to share their data so that it can help with the research.

“We are not defenceless,” he said. “We have to use the current window of opportunity to hit hard and stand in unison to fight this virus in every corner. If we don’t we could have far more cases and far higher costs on our hands.”

“If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider the virus as public enemy number one, I don’t think we will will learn from our lessons,” he added. “We are still in containment strategy and should not allow the virus to have a space to have local transmission.”