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China virus death toll nears 1,500 but new cases fall; over 64,000 infected

Agence France-Presse February 14,2020 - 11:06 AM

This file photo taken on January 30, 2020 shows medical staff in protective clothes carrying a patient from an apartment suspected of having the deadly COVID-2019 coronavirus in Wuhan, in Hubei province. Doctors on the frontline of China’s new coronavirus epidemic are facing a daunting task: treat an ever-growing number of infected patients and risk getting infected themselves due to a drastic shortage of masks and other protective equipment. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) / TO GO WITH China-health-virus-hospital,FOCUS by Eva Xiao and Ludovic Ehret

BEIJING, China – 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 epicenter 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.

GSG

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