Latest on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

(Reuters) – Here are the latest developments around the coronavirus outbreak:

*The death toll in mainland China reached 1,770 as of Sunday-end, up by 105 from the previous day, while there were 2,048 new cases, bringing the total count to 70,548.

*In Hubei province, 1,933 new cases and 100 new deaths were reported — the lowest daily death count since Feb. 11.

*Outside China, more than 500 cases have been confirmed, mostly of people who traveled from Chinese cities, with five deaths in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, France and Taiwan.

*China says a World Health Organization (WHO) delegation of experts will visit Beijing, and the provinces of Guangdong and Sichuan from Feb. 17 onwards.

*China’s parliament and its top political consultative body are both considering delaying annual meetings set for March, state media said on Monday. The standing committee of the parliament will meet on Feb. 24 to deliberate the postponement.

*Japan evacuated more nationals from Wuhan, China on Monday. More than 400 people have now been infected in the country, with majority being passengers on a cruise ship docked off the country.

*Japan said on Monday it would limit public crowds in Tokyo, cancelling the emperor’s birthday celebrations and closing next month’s Tokyo Marathon to all but elite professional runners.

*Thailand recorded one new case of coronavirus, bringing the total in the country to 35 since January, a senior health official said.

*Holland America Line said it is working with governments and health experts to track passengers who disembarked from its Westerdam cruise ship docked in Cambodia after an American woman tested positive for coronavirus in Malaysia.

*Seventy more people were confirmed with the virus on board the Diamond Princess on Sunday, bringing the number of cases from the ship to 355. Japanese media reported on Monday the number of new confirmed cases was 99.

*Taiwan reported its first death from the virus and an elderly Chinese tourist hospitalized in France became the first fatality in Europe.

*Hainan province in China has launched the first specially-designed insurance for businesses hit by the coronavirus, setting aside 200 million yuan ($28.7 million) to cover payouts, the banking and insurance regulator said.

*China’s central bank cut the interest rate on its medium-term lending, seeking to limit the damage caused to the economy. New home prices grew at their weakest pace in nearly two years in January.

*Japan’s economy shrank at the fastest rate in almost six years in the December quarter, highlighting a fragile outlook made worse by growing coronavirus risks.

*Singapore on Monday cut its 2020 growth and exports forecasts due to an expected economic blow from the new coronavirus outbreak, flagging the chance of a recession this year.

*Global shares rose on Monday as the promise of further policy stimulus to counteract the economic hit from a coronavirus outbreak calmed nervous investors. [MKTS/GLOB]

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