Virus death toll nears 1,500, more than 64,000 people infected in China

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 14 2020 08:56 AM

A medical worker in protective suit replaces an oxygen tank for a patient at a community health service center, which has an isolated section to receive patients with mild symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus and suspected patients of the virus, in Qingshan district of Wuhan, Hubei province, China Feb. 8, 2020. China Daily/Reuters

BEIJING — 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.

© Agence France-Presse