Meanwhile, the World Health Organization on Tuesday officially named the disease COVID-19, while the virus which causes it has been called SARS-CoV-2 (changed from its provisional name 2019-nCoV) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
Hundreds of infections have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and territories, but only two people have died from the virus outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines. The inclusion of those cases drives the surge in the number of new confirmed cases.
But the World Health Organisation had warned that the apparent slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus epidemic should be treated with "extreme caution".
On Wednesday, Hubei province reported a total of 242 deaths, the largest single day increase, according to Mi. Among the 33,693 hospitalized patients, 5,647 were still in severe condition and another 1,437 in critical condition.
It is not immediately clear what the region's new method for diagnosing COVID-19 is, or why the number of fatalities has risen so sharply over the past 24 hours. The outbreak began in Wuhan late previous year, and has spread throughout China, killing more than 1,000 and infecting tens of thousands across the country.
Many airlines have suspended flights to China, while countries have imposed bans or quarantine for people arriving from China, disrupting businesses and playing havoc with conferences and sporting events.
The WHO has held a two-day meeting aimed at speeding up the development of tests, drugs and vaccines for the new virus, but experts have warned that treatments may be months away.
Officials in Hubei have been heavily criticized for their handling of the epidemic in a province of nearly 60 million people.
"Just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment", Angela Jones, an American tourist on the ship, told Reuters.
As of Thursday, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (247), Singapore (50), Hong Kong (50), Thailand (33), South Korea (28), Taiwan (18), Malaysia (18), Germany (16), Australia (15), Vietnam (15), the United States (14), France (11), Macau (10), the UK (nine), the UAE (eight), Canada (seven), India (three), the Philippines (three), Italy (three), Russian Federation (two), Spain (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Sweden (one) and Belgium (one), the South China Morning Post said in a report citing various health agencies.
Japan's health ministry says 218 of the 3,500 people on board have tested positive for the virus.