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China’s Hubei province reports 116 more coronavirus deaths

China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak, reported 4,823 new infections and 116 deaths from the disease on Friday.

Beijing, 14 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak, reported 4,823 new infections and 116 deaths from the disease on Friday.

The National Health Commission announced later on Friday that the total number of infections had risen to 55,748, with 1,380 dead. It said 108 deaths had been subtracted from previous data due to “duplications in the statistics from Hubei province.”

The figures come a day after Hubei reported a sharp increase of more than 14,000 new patients battling the Covid-19 illness caused by the virus.

The rise was mostly due to more than 13,000 earlier cases that were only added to the tally on Thursday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The numbers appeared to spike after diagnosis rules were changed for hardest-hit Hubei, meaning that going forward lung screening results are also allowed as the basis for confirming infections rather than laboratory tests, which are used in the rest of China and abroad.

“We’re not dealing with a spike of 14,000 [new] cases in a day,” WHO emergency operations chief Mike Ryan told a press conference Thursday in Geneva.

The virus broke out in December, with the earliest cases linked to a food market in the central Chinese industrial hub of Wuhan. It has since spread to about two dozen countries, prompting governments to put travel restrictions in place.

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