Health authorities in China have reported 121 more deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, 116 of which are from the epicentre of the infection in Hubei Province alone, as the toll arising from the plague of the virus rose from 1, 300 to 1,500 victims.
Further reports reveal that Hubei and its capital Wuhan, where the infection now known as COVID-19 is thought to have originated in late December, also reported a further 4,823 new cases of the infection.
In a related development, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the virus poses a “grave threat” to the world, with chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying the virus could have “more powerful consequences than any terrorist action”.
And following the outbreak of the virus, the head of the Communist party in the province of Hubei has been relieved of his post and has been replaced by former Shanghai Mayor, Ying Yong, who now becomes the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu, reporting from Beijing, said “it was expected that somebody’s head was on the chopping block”.
“There’s been a lot of criticism about the information of the coronavirus not being so forthcoming” from Hubei officials, she added.