Chinese authorities on Thursday said the overall toll due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country has reached 1,361, with 59,539 confirmed cases, after Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, registered the largest one-day increase in infections and deaths.
The Hubei provincial health commission said COVID-19, the official name of the disease as designated by the WHO, had killed 1,310 people, 242 of which died on Wednesday alone, reports Efe news.
This represents, by a large margin, the highest number of casualties recorded in a single day in Hubei, where the previous highest daily spike was 103 on Monday.
The authorities said 14,840 new cases of the infection had been detected in the province, where the commission said it has begun counting the number of “clinically diagnosed” people, which allows them to receive the same treatment as those who have tested positive for the illness.
Until now the patients were confirmed by means of tests, performed with equipment that was scarce in the province. It said doctors would now be more able to confirm cases.
Although provincial authorities have not provided additional details about the new criteria for accounting for patients, the new measures will allow “patients to receive timely treatment,” the commission said in a statement.
Last week, Hubei health authorities had indicated they would begin to recognize the results of CT scans to confirm infections, which would allow hospitals to isolate patients more quickly.
On Wednesday, the provincial commission confirmed 1,638 new cases, while the dead totalled to 94.
Meanwhile, the WHO on Tuesday officially named the disease COVID-19, while the virus which causes it has been called SARS-CoV-2 (changed from its provisional name 2019-nCoV) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
The organization said “CO” stands for “corona,” “VI” for “virus, “D” for “disease” and “-19” for “2019” – as the outbreak was first detected December 31.
According to the latest data, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (247), Singapore (50), Hong Kong (50), Thailand (33), South Korea (28), Taiwan (18), Malaysia (18), Germany (16), Australia (15), Vietnam (15), the US (14), France (11), Macau (10), the UK (nine), the UAE (eight), Canada (seven), India (three), the Philippines (three), Italy (three), Russia (two), Spain (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Sweden (one) and Belgium (one), the South China Morning Post said in a report citing various health agencies.
To date, all but two deaths – in the Philippines and Hong Kong – have occurred in mainland China and China also accounts for about 99 per cent of those infected.