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Coronavirus outbreak death toll spikes to nearly 1,500 in China, 65,000 infected


BEIJING: The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak has spiked to nearly 1,500, including six medical workers, while the confirmed cases of the infection are now around 65,000 even as the cases outside the worst-hit Hubei province dropped for the 10th consecutive day.

The coronavirus has posed a big threat to the medical staff in China as more than 1,700 Chinese health workers have been infected by the virus while treating the patients and six of them have died.

The worst-hit Hubei province and its provincial capital Wuhan reported 116 new fatalities on Thursday, lower than the highest toll of 242 on Wednesday.

The province reported 4,823 new confirmed cases on Thursday.

Overall death toll in China has climbed to 1,488 while the total number of cases have increased to 64,894 as of Thursday, according to health officials.

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On Friday, the Chinese government highlighted the continued drop of coronavirus disease, officially termed by the WHO as COVID-19, all over the country except in Hubei province.

The cases in rest of China other than Hubei declined for the 10th day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told online media briefing.

He also said Chinese hospitals discharge 6,723 recovered patients of coronavirus infection.

This reportedly included the whistleblower Chinese doctor Li Wenliang who was reprimanded by police for alerting about the virus over the social media in December last.

Considering the plight of the medical workers, Chinese authorities have allocated USD 3.71 billion to improve their working conditions.

Ou Wenhan, assistant minister of finance told the media here the money will be used to purchase medical equipment and protective materials and upgrade facilities in medical institutions.

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Each frontline medical and epidemic prevention worker would receive a subsidy of 300 yuan or 200 yuan per day according to different risk levels, Ou said.

Those recovered included a four-month-old baby infected with the novel coronavirus after recovery in east China's Jiangxi Province.

The baby was the youngest cured patient in the province.

More than 1,700 Chinese health workers have been infected by the virus | AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the use of digital technology such as big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to better support epidemic monitoring and analysis, virus tracing, prevention and treatment, and resource allocation.

His call came amid deployment of robots in hospitals in Wuhan treating the virus patients to supply and other materials.

More than 580 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China and three deaths, one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong and now a Japanese woman in her 80s.

Health officials are investigating how she got infected.