Coronavirus: CDC Expert in a Hazmat Suit
Coronavirus: CDC Expert in a Hazmat SuitReuters

The death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak reached 1,018 on Tuesday, AFP reports.

China reported an additional 108 deaths in the country, the first triple-digit rise since the virus emerged.

Meanwhile, an advance team for a World Health Organization-led international expert mission arrived in China as the country struggles to contain a viral epidemic that has now infected more than 42,000 and reached some 25 countries.

All the deaths have been recorded in China, with the exception of two – one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.

Chinese authorities have locked down millions of people in a number of cities while several governments have banned arrivals from China, and major airlines have suspended flights to keep the disease away from their shores.

Meanwhile, Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire and one of China's richest people, told the American Voicethat the true numbers of those affected by the new coronavirus are much higher than what the Chinese government has been publishing.

Last week, Dr. Li Wenliang, who in December brought the coronavirus to the attention of the international medical community, died of the virus.

Most cases abroad have involved people who had been in Wuhan, the quarantined central Chinese city where the virus emerged late last year, or people infected by others who had been at the epicenter.

The British government called the novel coronavirus a "serious and imminent threat", and said anyone with the disease can now be forcibly quarantined if they are deemed a threat to public health as the number of cases in Britain doubled to eight.

A cluster of cases has grown on a cruise ship moored off Japan, with 135 people now diagnosed with the virus aboard the Diamond Princess.

The ship has been in quarantine since arriving off the Japanese coast early last week after the virus was detected in a former passenger who disembarked last month in Hong Kong.