Coronavirus virus claims 250 more lives in deadliest day to date 

China was hit by another 242 deaths on Thursday as the coronavirus continues to claim lives by the day.

China sacked two top officials in Hubei province hours after the new figures were revealed.

The new record in the Chinese province of Hubei which takes the overall death toll to 1,350, has reported Thursday as the deadliest day of the outbreak.There were 14,840 new cases reported in Hubei alone.

This figure has overshadowed the 2,015 new confirmed cases reported across all of mainland China the previous day.

Reports of the new figures also come after the first case of coronavirus was diagnosed in London, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to nine.

Meanwhile Japan has announced its first coronavirus death - a woman in her 80s who lived in Kanagawa, south-west of Tokyo. It is the third death outside mainland China, with one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

The woman's diagnosis was confirmed after her death and she had no obvious link to China's Hubei province according to media reports in Japan.

Another 44 cases have been confirmed on the Diamond Princess, which is in quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.

The increase means 218 people of the 3,700 people on board the ship have caught the virus. Not everyone has been tested yet.

People with the virus are taken to hospitals on land to be treated, while those on board are largely confined to their cabins.

Under pressure to accommodate the growing number of cases, Wuhan health officials started converting dormitories and university gyms into hospitals, which raised concerns among foreign students who are stuck in the city.

In the wake of this crisis foreign students from India and Pakistan have made desperate pleas to their governments to immediately evacuate them.

About 1,000 Pakistani students are currently in Hubei. A number of Pakistani students have complained that their university dormitories are being converted into hospitals with virus patients.

China has already built two makeshift hospitals with 2,300 beds.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people backed by prominent academics are circulating a petition calling for freedom of speech following the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded by police for alerting about the virus via social media last December.

Dr Wenliang is credited with being the first medical professional to sound the alarm on the Wuhan coronavirus weeks before he contracted the illness himself and died.

In late December, he messaged his medical school alumni group on WeChat, informing them that seven people from a local seafood market, who showed signs of a SARS-like illness were quarantined in his hospital in Wuhan.

When screenshots of his post went viral with his name in plain view, Li said, he realized it was out of his control and would probably be punished.

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