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Worldwide updates on novel coronavirus

As the coronavirus death toll reaches 1,113 the number of cases has seen a downward trend. Here are the global developments in the crisis in the past 24 hours.

Downward trend

Another 97 people died in China, raising the national toll to 1,113, with more than 44,600 people now infected. But the 2,015 new infections confirm a downward trend following the figure of 2,478 on Tuesday and 3,062 on Monday.

“I think it’s at its peak in mid- to late-February,” says Zhong Nanshan, a renowned scientist at China’s National Health Commission.

In Geneva, where the World Health Organization (WHO) is hosting a conference on the virus, its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says there is a “window of opportunity” to fight the virus.

“If we invest now, we have a realistic chance of stopping this outbreak,” he says.

New Name for the epidemic

At the conference the WHO also announces a new name for the epidemic: COVID-19, in keeping with guidelines aimed at avoiding linking disease to an animal or a geographic location.

CO stands for “corona”, VI for “virus” and D for “disease”, while 19 is for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on December 31.

More infections aboard cruise ship

An additional 39 people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan’s coast tested positive for the coronavirus, raising the total number of cases to 174 — the biggest cluster outside China.

Some 3,600 passengers and crew now face a second week of quarantine aboard the liner.

Businesses hit

French global luxury goods group Kering warns the coronavirus outbreak poses a real threat and has hit sales badly in China, one of its top markets.

The South Korean unit of General Motors, the biggest US car company, announced a partial suspension of operations next week due to shortages of parts from China.

This follows Japanese auto giant Nissan and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor, which have already suspended some operations.

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