A man wears a face mask for protection from the new coronavirus as he walks his bike in Beijing, China, on Wednesday. The number of new cases in China of the virus-causing disease, called covid-19, fell for a second straight day. (Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The number of new coronavirus cases in China dropped for a second straight day in a virus outbreak that has infected about 45,000 people and killed more than 1,100, health officials said Wednesday.

While most of the infections of the disease, now called covid-19, have been in China, it has gradually rippled overseas. In Japan, 39 new cases were confirmed on a cruise ship under quarantine at Yokohama, bringing the total to 174 on the ship.


Passengers have been kept on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, because of fears of spreading covid-19 in Japan. By Wednesday, officials reported that 174 people on the ship tested positive for covid-19. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

The National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases had been tallied Tuesday, the second straight daily decline and down from nearly 3,900 a week ago. Commission spokesman Mi Feng said the situation is still grim but “we have seen some positive changes.”

Leading Chinese disease specialist Zhong Nanshan told fellow doctors in Wuhan, where the virus emerged in December, that while the rest of China may have turned the corner, more efforts are needed to stop the spread of the virus in the city and the rest of Hubei province.

The total number of cases in mainland China reached 44,653 and the death toll hit 1,113. Two people have died elsewhere, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.