China’s National Health Commission reported on Friday at least 44 new deaths from the coronavirus infection as of the end of Thursday, bringing to 2,788 the number of fatalities nationwide.
The agency also reported 327 new confirmed cases as of the same period, down from 433 on Wednesday, raising the total number of infections to 78,824.
Most of the reported new deaths and infections were from the province of Hubei, the epicentre of the deadly disease.
Timeline: How China’s new coronavirus spread
Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases?
What happens if you catch the new coronavirus?
Meanwhile, according to the latest reports, the coronavirus is now spreading more quickly in Europe, the Middle East and other parts of the world than in China.
In the United States, public health officials were retracing the steps of a Northern California woman on Thursday believed to be the first person in the US to contract the highly contagious coronavirus without having travelled internationally, or come into close contact with anyone who had.
Here are the latest updates:
Friday, February 28
US grants sanctions waiver for humanitarian trade to Iran
The US on Thursday granted a licence to allow for certain humanitarian trade transactions with Iran’s sanctioned central bank, a move it said was in step with the formalisation of a Swiss humanitarian trade channel.
The newly created channel, which the US Treasury Department said became fully operational on Thursday as it granted the licence, would allow for companies to send food, medicine and other critical supplies to Iran.
This comes as Iran is grappling with a rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases which have already killed at least two dozen people.
Coronavirus risk to Americans low, but can change: US health secretary
The risk to American people from coronavirus is low, but that could change, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Thursday.
“We have really been able to keep the risk to the Americans low right now so that everyday Americans don’t need to be worried, but that can change and that’s why it’s important for all of us to prepare,” Azar said at a White House event with President Donald Trump.
Click here to read updates from Thursday, February 27.