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China virus death toll nears 1,500 but new cases fall

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Beijing, China   /   Fri, February 14, 2020   /   08:58 am
China virus death toll nears 1,500 but new cases fall This photo taken on February 5, 2020 shows a patient (R) covered with a bed sheet at an exhibition centre converted into a hospital as it starts to accept patients displaying mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. - China scrambled to find bed space for thousands of newly infected patients on February 6, as the toll from a deadly new virus jumped again with more than 28,000 people known infected nationwide and 563 deaths. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (AFP/STR)

The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic rose to 1,483 on Friday but the number of new infections in hard-hit Hubei province fell after a change in case definitions caused a massive increase the previous day.

The central province's health commission reported 116 more deaths and 4,823 new cases, the majority involving "clinically diagnosed" patients.

The province, the epicentre of the outbreak, had 242 more deaths and over 14,800 new cases on Thursday.

More than 64,600 people have now been infected in the country.

Health officials in Hubei said they started to count clinically diagnosed cases to ensure that patients get treated as early as possible instead of having to wait for laboratory tests to confirm they have the COVID-19 disease.

But the change raised concerns that the crisis may be more serious than Chinese authorities have reported.