China sees rise in new virus cases, death toll rises by 105

China sees rise in new virus cases, death toll rises by 105
BEIJING -- Mainland China on Monday reported a slight upturn in new virus cases and an increase by 105 in deaths caused by the illness for a total of 1,770 since the outbreak began.

The new number of 2,048 cases being reported Monday for the previous 24 hours came after three days of declines but was up by just 29 cases from the previous day s figure.

Another 10,844 have recovered from COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus, and have been discharged from hospitals, according to Monday s figures.

The new figures came after a recent speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping was published by state media in an apparent attempt to demonstrate the Communist Party leadership acted decisively from the beginning of the crisis. However, it also opened Xi up to criticism over why the public was not alerted sooner.

Xi s speech indicated for the first time that he was leading the response to a new virus outbreak from early on in the crisis, saying he gave instructions on fighting the virus on Jan. 7 and ordered the shutdown that began on Jan. 23 of cities at the epicenter of the outbreak. His remarks were published by state media late Saturday.

Taiwan on Sunday reported its first death from the virus, the fifth fatality outside of mainland China. Taiwan s Central News Agency reported that the person who died was a man in his 60s living in central Taiwan. He had not travelled overseas recently and had no known contact with virus patients, CNA said, citing Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened an experts meeting to discuss measures to contain the virus in his country, where more than a dozen cases have emerged in the past few days without any obvious link to China.

"The situation surrounding this virus is changing by the minute," Abe said.

Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the country is "entering into a phase that is different from before," requiring new steps to stop the spread of the virus.
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