The National Health Commission, which acts as a ministry, said the number of people infected with the virus, which appeared in December in central Hubei province, now exceeds 74,500.
The new coronavirus epidemic has killed 114 more people in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao) in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 2,118.
Most of the new cases and deaths have been recorded in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, where the virus is believed to have appeared in a market in the city.
Provincial authorities reported on Thursday 628 new infections. But they also announced that 279 people initially counted as infected had finally been declared negative.
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Clearly, this adjustment is synonymous with a “net” daily increase of 349 cases compared to the previous day’s total at the provincial level.
The National Health Commission explained this update in the number of cases in Hubei by the fact that some patients, initially counted as “confirmed” on the basis of simple chest x-rays, had since undergone a screening test which revealed that ‘they had not contracted COVID-19.
After the adjustment, the ministry said the daily net increase in the number of cases in mainland China would be 394, only a quarter of the figure announced the previous day.
Outside Hubei, the number of new daily cases is gradually falling, with only 45 announced on Thursday by the National Health Commission.