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February 19, 2020

China reports 98 new coronavirus deaths

Top Story

February 19, 2020

BEIJING: The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in mainland China rose to 1,868 as of the end of Monday, up by 98 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday.

The central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 93 deaths, while in the provincial capital of Wuhan, 72 people died, international, media reported.

Across mainland China, there were 1,886 new confirmed infections on Monday, bringing the total so far to 72,436.

The number of new cases reported outside Hubei province was just 79, down from 890 on February 4. It marks the lowest number of new cases outside the virus-struck province since January 23. China's national health authority has said the declining numbers are a sign that the outbreak is under control.

However, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the trend "must be interpreted very cautiously". "Trends can change as new populations are affected. It is too early to tell if this reported decline will continue. Every scenario is still on the table," he told reporters.

Chinese health officials have urged patients who recovered from the coronavirus to donate blood so that plasma can be extracted to treat others who are critically ill. Plasma from patients who have recovered from a spell of pneumonia triggered by COVID-19 contains antibodies that can help reduce the virus load in critically ill patients, an official from the National Health Commission told a press briefing. More than 12,000 people have recovered and been discharged, according to health commission figures.