WHO health emergencies program director Michael Ryan told reporters in Geneva Thursday the new, higher numbers do "not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak", but rather "a change in how the cases are being reported".
"Based on the current trend in confirmed cases, this appears to be a clear indication that while the Chinese authorities are doing their best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the fairly drastic measures they have implemented to date would appear to have been too little, too late", he said.
Though the number of infections on Thursday was about 1,800, the lowest daily new infection record, the number of new deaths increased to a staggering 254, which is twice the number of the average daily death toll since January. There have also been claims that Chinese people eating bats were the source of the outbreak, with photos circulating of individuals eating bats that weren't even taken in China.
According to the report, 65,191 people have been infected with the novel virus as of yesterday, globally.
WATCH | Q&A: What is life like inside Wuhan?
Two of Hubei's senior health officials were also removed Monday.
Ying worked closely with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter's time as party boss and governor of Zhejiang province.
Officials in Hubei have been heavily criticized for their handling of the epidemic in a province of nearly 60 million people.
"It has spread to other places where it's the beginning of the outbreak".
The new diagnostic approach came on the same day that Hubei and its stricken capital, Wuhan, replaced their top officials in an apparent response to public criticism of how authorities have handled the epidemic.
In breaking down the large number of new cases in China, National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said Hubei had adopted a revised diagnosis and treatment plan aimed at accelerating the identification and treatment of patients. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information allowing for identification of organisms like viruses. The NHC did not account for a discrepancy of one case, as it had reported that the total accumulated number as of Tuesday was 44,653.
Japan is one of the worst affected of more than two dozen countries and territories outside mainland China that have seen hundreds of infections.
In Vietnam, official media reported that a commune of 10,000 residents northwest of the capital Hanoi was put in lockdown due to a cluster of cases there. Vietnam has confirmed 16 cases, a lot of them in the province.
Japan now has 252 confirmed cases, including 218 from a cruise ship that has been quarantined in Yokohama.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen greeted the passengers with handshakes and bouquets of roses as they stepped off the ship and boarded a waiting bus.
Meanwhile, the Westerdam cruise ship today arrived in Cambodia, after it was turned away by four countries over fears of COVID-19.
According to the ship's operator, Holland America, none of the 1,400 passengers and 800 crew members were infected with the virus.
Elsewhere, Japan confirmed another case, a Japanese man in his 70s, a day after it reported its first death from the virus. The province is at the epicenter of the outbreak.