Coronovirus deaths surge past 1,300
Published: 11:16 AM, 13 February 2020 Updated: 03:40 PM, 13 February 2020
Some 242 people died from the coronavirus COVID-19 in China's hard-hit central province of Hubei on Wednesday - the highest in a single day and more than twice the previous record high - pushing the death toll across the country to 1,355, said health officials on Thursday.
Health officials in the province also reported that a huge jump in new cases, saying a further 14,840 people had been confirmed with the infection over the 24-hour period to midnight on Wednesday (16:00 GMT).
As this developed, the head of the Communist party in the province of Hubei has been relieved of his post - the latest in a line of local officials fired, Xinhua news agency reported today.
Hubei is at the centre of the outbreak, which is thought to have originated in a now-closed seafood market in the capital of Wuhan late last year.
Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, replacing Jiang Chaoliang, the report said, citing the party's central committee.
Earlier, the Communist party chief of the health commission of Hubei, Zhang Jin, and its director, Liu Yingzi, were also replaced.
Total cases in the province have now reached 48,206, Hubei's health commission data showed, pushing the total number nationwide to nearly 60,000.
China's national health commission is expected to provide an update on countrywide infections later on Thursday.
At least 25 countries have confirmed cases of the virus and several nations have evacuated their citizens from Hubei. Two deaths have been recorded outside mainland China - one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.
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