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Beijing, February 15, 2020
China today reported 143 new deaths due to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), taking the toll in the epidemic that has hit the country to 1,523 so far.
Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, quoted the country's health authorities as saying that 2,641 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 142 new deaths were reported from 31 provincial-level regions even as the government and other agencies stepped up efforts to control the epidemic.
As of Friday, a total of 66,492 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported from mainland China since the outbreak of the disease, the report said.
A total of 8,096 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery by the end of Friday. China saw 1,373 people walk out of hospital after recovery on Friday.
As many as 139 of the new deaths and 2,420 of the fresh confirmed cases were reported on Friday from the Hubei province the epicentre of the outbreak.
The figure of new cases included 1,138 clinically diagnosed cases, while the new deaths also included 34 who were clinically diagnosed.
Wuhan, the provincial capital, has so far recorded a total of 37,914 confirmed cases, including 14,953 clinically diagnosed ones. The city reported 1,923 new infections and 107 new deaths on Friday.
Henan reported two new deaths, and Beijing and Chongqing reported one new death each on Friday.
According to the report, the city of Xiaogan, one of the worst-hit cities in Hubei, asked all residential communities and areas to lock down from Friday afternoon.
All residents will not be allowed to exit and re-enter their communities or residential areas. Daily necessities for residents will be delivered by the community committees, and purchasing services will be provided for urgently-needed goods.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) universities and hospitals across China have sent 2,220 medical workers to Hubei Province to help combat the outbreak.
In Huanggang, another badly-hit city in Hubei, a section of a maternal and child care service centre has been converted into an emergency hospital. About 400 hospital beds would be available there by Saturday, the report said.
Nine temporary hospitals, converted from existing facilities such as gymnasiums and exhibition centres, with more than 6,960 beds have been opened in Hubei so far and more than 5,600 patients are being treated in them.
The National Health Commission said that 11,053 patients remained in severe condition, and 8,969 people were suspected of being infected with the virus.
The commission said 513,183 close contacts had been traced, adding that among them, 30,081 were discharged on Friday, while 169,039 others were still under medical observation.
In an announcement on Saturday, authorities in Beijing have ordered everyone returning to the Chinese capital city to go into quarantine for 14 days or risk punishment in the latest attempt to contain the deadly new coronavirus, the BBC reported.
Residents were told to "self-quarantine or go to designated venues to quarantine" after returning to the Chinese capital from holidays.
The measure came as Egypt confirmed the first coronavirus case in Africa.
As of Friday, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (203), Hong Kong (56), Singapore (50), Thailand (33), South Korea (28), Taiwan (18), Malaysia (18), Germany (16), Vietnam (16), Australia (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), according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Outside China, there has been three deaths -- one each in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan.