BEIJING: China on Friday (Jan 24) confirmed a second death outside the epicentre of a SARS-like virus outbreak that has infected hundreds of people, raising the overall toll to 26 dead.
Officials say 24 deaths have occurred in Hubei, the central province that is home to Wuhan, the city identified as the centre of the outbreak.
The death was in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, which borders Russia and is about 2,000km from Wuhan, the local government said.
It follows confirmation Thursday of the first death outside the epicentre - an 80-year-old man diagnosed with the new virus in northern Hebei province, who died on Jan 22.
Hebei province borders Beijing, where a number of public Chinese New Year events have been cancelled and the Forbidden City - one of China's most famous cultural landmarks - has been closed until further notice in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading.
Millions of people have been sealed off in Hubei as public transport has been shut down in cities across the province, with Wuhan under lockdown in an unprecedented quarantine effort.
The National Health Commission said Friday the number of confirmed cases had leapt to 830.
The virus, which started in Wuhan city in Hubei province, has since spread to other major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
READ: Commentary: Wuhan virus sparks questions over local Chinese officials' disclosure of information
Cases have been confirmed in Singapore, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called the outbreak "an emergency in China" but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.
There is no vaccine for the virus, which can spread through respiratory transmission. Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.
Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://cna.asia/telegram