Coronavirus: Latest developments worldwide

A woman wearing a protective facemask cycles along a nearly empty street in Beijing on 15 February, 2020. (AFP Photo)

More than 1,500 dead from the novel coronavirus in China. The first fatality recorded outside Asia and the first case in Africa. Here are the latest developments.

More than 1,500 dead

The death toll from China's epidemic jumps to 1,523, with more than 66,000 people now infected from the virus that emerged in central Hubei province in December, before spreading through China and around the world.

The number of new cases on Saturday was 2,641, or about half the number of the previous day. The vast majority in Hubei.

First death outside Asia 

France announces the first death confirmed outside of Asia and the first in Europe – an 80-year-old Chinese tourist hospitalised since late January.

Only three deaths had so far been recorded outside mainland China – in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.

First case in Africa

Egypt's health ministry announces the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Africa. Not Egyptian, the person is placed in quarantine in hospital.

WHO defends Beijing

The World Health Organization (WHO) defends China, after Washington criticised it for a lack of transparency in its response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

"From our perspective, we have a government that's cooperating with us," Michael Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies programme, says, listing various ways in which China has collaborated, including inviting in international experts.

US tightens controls

The United States (US), which is in the midst of the seasonal flu season, expands its response to the coronavirus, by announcing it will begin testing people identified as having flu-like symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention starts working with five public health labs across the US: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle, with more sites planned.

Diamond Princess 

Another 67 people on board a cruise ship quarantined off Japan's coast since early February have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The new cases bring the number of people diagnosed on the Diamond Princess to 285, out of the 3,700 people originally onboard. The US embassy says it will evacuate Americans stranded on the vessel.

Chinese banknotes quarantined 

China's central bank says that used banknotes are being disinfected with ultraviolet light or high temperatures, and stored for up to 14 days before the currency notes are put back into circulation.

Increasing numbers of Chinese people have preferred mobile payments over cash in recent years. - AFP