The deadly coronavirus epidemic is showing no sign of slowing down with the illness killing more than 100 people in a single day.

The number of fatalities from China's new-coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1,011 nationwide today after hard-hit Hubei province reported 103 new deaths.

The virus originated in Wuhan, a city in Hubei, in December and has since spread globally.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, wearing a protective face mask, receives a temperature check as he visits a community health centre in Beijing. Photo / AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping, wearing a protective face mask, receives a temperature check as he visits a community health centre in Beijing. Photo / AP

In its daily update, Hubei's health commission also confirmed another 2097 new cases in the central province.

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China has been struggling to recover since the outbreak emerged in December with much of the country forced into quarantine, reports news.com.au.

There are now more than 42,200 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government.

The new virus is believed to have emerged last year in a market that sells wild animals in Hubei's capital Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with medical workers and patients affected at a hospital in Beijing on Monday, where he called for "more decisive measures" to contain the outbreak, said state broadcaster CCTV.

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The outbreak has prompted unprecedented action by the Chinese government, including locking down entire cities in Hubei as well as cutting transport links nationwide, closing tourist attractions and telling hundreds of millions of people to stay indoors.

And in a further effort to curb the rapidly spreading virus, Chinese authorities have partially locked down more than 80 cities in nearly 20 provinces since the epidemic.

The sweeping measures have turned cities into ghost towns — but there were some signs of normality returning as many went back to work this week after the extended Lunar New Year holiday.

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Passengers from the cruise ship World Dream docked at Kai Tak cruise terminal gesture to the media as they leave the ship after being quarantined for the coronavirus in Hong Kong. Photo / AP
Passengers from the cruise ship World Dream docked at Kai Tak cruise terminal gesture to the media as they leave the ship after being quarantined for the coronavirus in Hong Kong. Photo / AP

The return to work has caused the number of confirmed infections to skyrocket with more than 3000 new cases on Sunday according to China's National Health Commission.

Roads in Beijing and the financial hub of Shanghai had significantly more traffic, while the southern city of Guangzhou said it would start to resume normal public transport.

However, many of those returning to work were uneasy.

"Of course we're worried," a 25-year-old told Reuters in a Beijing beauty salon that reopened yesterday.

"When customers come in, we first take their temperature, then use disinfectant and ask them to wash their hands."

The Shanghai government suggested staggered work schedules, avoiding group meals and keeping at least one metre away from colleagues.

Many were encouraged to work from home and some employers simply delayed opening for another week.

State media reported that passenger numbers on the Beijing subway were half that of a normal working day.


Large shopping malls in the capital were deserted and many banks closed. One bank employee in Shanghai was heading to work for a half-day, with other workers due to take over in the afternoon. The rest of the day he would work from home.

"It makes our work more difficult," he told AFP.

Schools and universities across the country remained shut.

Personnel wearing protective suits wait near an entrance at the Cheung Hong Estate, a public housing estate during evacuation of residents in Hong Kong. Photo / AP
Personnel wearing protective suits wait near an entrance at the Cheung Hong Estate, a public housing estate during evacuation of residents in Hong Kong. Photo / AP

The toll has overtaken global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic when China drew international condemnation for covering up cases, though Beijing has drawn praise from the World Health Organisation this time.

An advance team for a WHO-led international expert mission on the virus arrived in China late Monday, headed by Bruce Aylward, who oversaw the organisation's 2014-2016 response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Ahead of the team's arrival, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned there had been some "concerning instances" of cases overseas in people with no travel history to China.

"We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg," he tweeted.

The WHO said the spread of coronavirus cases among people who have not been to China could be "the spark that becomes a bigger fire" and the human race must not let the epidemic get out of control.

Around the world, 319 cases in 24 other countries have been confirmed. Two people out of China have died from coronavirus.

China will speed up the provision of medicines that show clinical effects against the coronavirus.