Head of hospital in coronavirus epicenter dies

The head of a leading hospital in Wuhan has died of the coronavirus.

Chinese state television reported that Liu Zhiming, the director of a hospital designated to treat virus-infected patients, died on Tuesday (February 18), making him the seventh health worker to fall victim.

The number of new daily coronavirus cases in mainland China fell below 2,000 for the first time since January.

But the World Health Organization warned that although Chinese data "appeared to show a decline in new cases", any apparent trend "must be interpreted very cautiously."

The virus remains far from contained, despite China's lockdown of cities and tough curbs on travel - at great cost to the economy and global business.

Singapore Airlines Ltd said it would temporarily cut flights across its network in the three months to May, as the epidemic hits demand for services to the Asian city state, as well as through the key transit hub.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said the world's pharmacies may face a shortage of antibiotics and other drugs if the outbreak cannot be resolved soon.

And accused Beijing of making supply-chain problems worse.

Japan, with 520 cases - the most outside of China - announced plans to use HIV drugs to combat the virus as a growing number of cases posed an increasing threat to the world's third-largest economy, as well as public health.

The death toll in China has now reached 1,868.

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