BEIJING                 -           The number of cases from the new coronavirus topped 100,000 worldwide as the US battled to contain an outbreak on board a stranded cruise ship where 21 people have tested positive. The World Health Organization

called the spread of the virus “deeply concerning” as a wave of countries reported their first cases of the disease -- which has now killed nearly 3,500 people and infected more than 100,000 across 92 nations.Twenty-one people onboard a cruise ship stranded off the coast of San Francisco have tested

positive for the virus, including

19 crew members and two passengers, after the California National Guard flew test kits out to the ship earlier this week.The Grand Princess has been stranded off San Francisco since Wednesday -- when it was supposed

to dock -- after it emerged that two people who had been on the ship during its previous voyage had contracted the virus. One later died.US Vice President Mike Pence said the ship will be brought to a non-commercial dock this weekend and all 3,533 passengers

and crew will be tested.The Grand Princess belongs to Princess Cruises, the same company which operated the coronavirus-stricken ship held off Japan last month on which more than 700 people on board tested positive. Health authorities

in Egypt also reported 12 new cases among workers aboard a Nile cruise boat.- GLOBAL SPREAD - The World Health Organization has urged “that all countries make containment their highest

priority,” director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.The influential American Israel

Public Affairs Committee, a US pro-Israel lobby group, said Friday that two people who attended

its annual Washington conference -- alongside dozens of lawmakers -- had tested positive

for coronavirus.Slovakia, Serbia, the Vatican, Peru, Cameroon and Togo all reported their first cases on Friday

while the Netherlands recorded

its first death. Cameroon is the first central African country to register a case of the deadly virus. In China -- where the virus first emerged late last year -- the number of new cases reported Saturday nationwide

was the lowest in weeks.The Chinese government has hinted it may soon lift the quarantine

imposed on Hubei province

-- the locked-down epicentre

where some 56 million people have been effectively housebound since late January.For the second consecutive day, there were no new cases reported

in Hubei outside Wuhan, the province’s capital. But the number of cases outside the epicentre

rose for a third consecutive

day, fuelling fears about imported

cases being brought into the country from overseas.There have now been 60 confirmed

imported cases brought into the country.- CANCELLATIONS AND CONTROLS -The epidemic has wreaked havoc

on international business, tourism, and sports events, with almost 300 million students sent home worldwide as schools and universities close.