The patient was the second of Russia's two confirmed cases of novel coronavirus to recover. Moscow has isolated hundreds of Russian and Chinese nationals for virus screening upon arrival from China.

A man is pictured wearing a medical mask in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. January 28, 2020.
A man is pictured wearing a medical mask in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. January 28, 2020. (Reuters)

Russia discharged a Chinese national from a hospital in the Siberian city of Chita on Wednesday after he recovered from a novel coronavirus infection, local authorities said as China reported another drop in new cases.

He was the second of Russia's two confirmed cases of coronavirus to recover. The other patient, also a Chinese national, was said by authorities on Tuesday to have recovered and been released from quarantine in Siberia's Tyumen region.

Russia has isolated hundreds of Russian and Chinese nationals for virus screening upon arrival from China.

Russia, which has a 4,300 km land border with China, has heavily restricted travel to its neighbour. 

The head of Russia's consumer health watchdog said on Monday that more than 20,000 people were under observation for signs of infection. More than 6,000 of those were Chinese nationals, the official, Anna Popova, said.

Some Russians have opposed quarantine centres being set up in their region and two facilities in the region of Chelyabinsk were shut shortly after being opened because of local protests, the Znak regional media outlet reported.

In St Petersburg, a woman described on Instagram how she escaped from a hospital on Friday where she had been put in quarantine after she reported having a sore throat following a holiday in China.

She said doctors had given her a clean bill of health, but that she had not been allowed home despite her asking.

The hospital's head doctor said on Tuesday she had flouted a 14-day quarantine period and also accused her of damaging hospital property during her escape, the Fontanka media outlet reported. 

This map by TRT World shows the number of patients who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus across the world as of 0800 GMT on February 12, 2020.
This map by TRT World shows the number of patients who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus across the world as of 0800 GMT on February 12, 2020. (TRTWorld)

Virus death toll crosses 1,100

China on Wednesday reported a drop in the number of new cases of a viral infection and 97 more deaths, pushing the total dead past 1,100 as postal services worldwide said delivery was being affected by the cancellation of many flights to China.

The National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases had been reported over the last 24 hours, declining for a second day. The total number of cases in mainland China reached 44,653, although many experts say a large number of others infected have gone uncounted.

The 97 additional deaths from the virus raised the mainland toll to 1,113.

Despite the official end of the extended Lunar New Year holiday, China remained mostly closed for business as many remained at home, with some 60 million people under virtual quarantine.

In the port city of Tianjin, just southeast of Beijing, a cluster of cases has been traced to a department store in Baodi district. One-third of Tianjin's 104 confirmed cases are in Baodi, the Xinhua state news agency reported.

COVID-19

The World Health Organization has named the disease caused by the virus as COVID-19, avoiding any animal or geographic designation to avoid stigmatisation and to show the disease comes from a new coronavirus discovered in 2019.

The illness was first reported in December and the outbreak has largely been concentrated to the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

China's official media reported on Tuesday that the top health officials in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, have been relieved of their duties.  

Speculation that higher-level officials could be sacked has simmered, but doing so could spark political infighting and be a tacit admission of responsibility.

Zhong Nanshan, a leading Chinese epidemiologist, said that while the virus outbreak in China may peak this month, the situation at the centre of the crisis remains more challenging.

“We still need more time of hard-working in Wuhan,” he said, describing the isolation of infected patients there a priority on.

“We have to stop more people from being infected,” he said.

Japan cruise ship cases climb to 174

An additional 39 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japan coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said Wednesday, as thousands more steel themselves for a second week in quarantine.

The ship that originally had 3,700 passengers and crew on board has become the largest single cluster of the newly named COVID-19 disease outside its origin in China.

"Out of 53 new test results, 39 people were found positive," Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters, bringing the total of cases on board to 174.

Source: AP