BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday reported 254 new deaths and a spike in virus cases of 15,152, after the hardest-hit province of Hubei applied a new classification system that broadens the scope of diagnoses for the outbreak, which has spread to more than 20 countries.
Japan also reported its first death, a woman in her 80s who had been hospitalized since early February. Two other places outside mainland China — Hong Kong and the Philippines — have previously confirmed one death each.
The new diagnostic approach came on the same day that Hubei and its stricken capital, Wuhan, replaced their top officials in an apparent response to public criticism of local authorities’ handling of the epidemic.
The total deaths in mainland China since the outbreak began in December stood at 1,367, with the total number of confirmed cases mounting to 52,526. This figure now includes more than 13,000 cases of “clinical diagnosis” in Hubei, which appears to include those based on a doctors’ analysis combined with lung imaging, as opposed to waiting for laboratory test results.
In breaking down the large number of new cases in China, National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said Hubei had adopted a revised diagnosis and treatment plan aimed at accelerating the identification and treatment of patients.
SOURCE : ASSOCIATED PRESS