The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China has risen to 1,113, and health experts have finally picked a name for the virus.
Chinese health officials said on Wednesday that 97 new deaths and 2,015 new cases had emerged in the previous 24 hours nationwide.
Cases of infection also now stood at 44,653, the officials said.
Authorities have locked down tens of millions of people in the epicenter of the epidemic — Hubei Province’s capital, Wuhan — and several other cities and regions in an unprecedented effort to contain the outbreak.
International efforts are also being made to contain the virus, which has spread to dozens of countries across the globe so far.
Meanwhile, health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) have picked a name for the virus.
At a conference in Geneva on Tuesday, WHO experts announced the name “COVID-19” for the novel coronavirus, which had until now been assigned a generic name.
WHO began a two-day meeting on Tuesday to discuss the epidemic. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to step up measures to detect and contain the virus.
“A virus can have more powerful consequences than any terrorist action. If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number 1, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons,” he said.
Tedros said there were fewer than 400 cases in 24 other countries, with one death.
“The first vaccine could be ready in 18 months. So we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus while preparing for the long term using the preparations for the vaccines,” he said.
The biggest cluster of cases outside China is on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan’s coast.
An additional 39 people on board the Diamond Princess have tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total of cases to 174, while thousands of passengers and crew face a second week in quarantine.
The case of a British man who passed on the virus to at least 11 other people — without having been in China — has raised fears of a new phase of contagion abroad.
The 53-year-old man caught the virus while attending a conference in Singapore and then passed it on to several compatriots while on holiday in the French Alps, before finally being diagnosed back in Britain.
He said Tuesday he had fully recovered, but remained in isolation in a central London hospital.