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China reports 150 more deaths from COVID-19

China reports 150 more deaths from COVID-19

People wear face masks in a street after the novel coronavirus outbreak in Beijing, China, February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING: China's death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 2,592 on Monday (Feb 24), after the National Health Commission reported 150 more fatalities, all but one in the epicentre of Hubei province.

Monday's death toll was a jump from the 97 deaths reported on Sunday.

The commission also confirmed a total of 409 new cases in China, with all but 11 in Hubei.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the mainland is now 77,150.

Interactive: COVID-19 cases worldwide

READ: Four Chinese provinces lower COVID-19 emergency response level

Multiple provinces have reported zero new infections for several days in a row, even as the situation continues to worsen within Hubei and outside of China.

Only one death was reported outside of Hubei on Monday, in Hainan province, where the official Xinhua news agency said a 55-year-old doctor had died.

China on Monday announced it has allocated 99.5 billion yuan (US$14.16 billion) for curbing the outbreak.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 25 countries and is causing mounting alarm due to new pockets of outbreaks in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Italy reported a third death while cases spiked, and authorities suspended football games while the Venice Carnival was cut short.

Iran's confirmed death toll rose to eight, prompting travel bans from neighbouring countries.

WHO EXPERTS VISIT WUHAN

Chinese authorities said experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) visited Wuhan over the weekend – the first reported visit by the WHO since the virus emerged from the city of 11 million people late last year.

The international group of experts inspected two hospitals during their visit, including a makeshift one at a sports centre, the National Health Commission said on Monday.

They also met with Ma Xiaowei, the director of China's national health commission, and top officials at the centre for disease control for Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

China has quarantined Wuhan and other cities in Hubei since late January, blocking tens of millions of residents from travelling, to try and contain the virus.

Most of the deaths have been in Wuhan.

The WHO team arrived in China more than a week ago to observe research and testing efforts, so they could then help with recommendations for fighting the epidemic, the National Health Council said previously.

READ: China changes method of counting COVID-19 patients again

The WHO has praised Beijing for its handling of the epidemic.

But China has been criticised at home for silencing early warnings from a whistleblower doctor who later died from the virus.

China's numbers of daily new infections have been on a downward trend, but health authorities have sowed confusion about the data by repeatedly changing counting methods.

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