Coronavirus: Death toll in China surges past 1,500
February 15, 2020 | 10:13 AM
by DW
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The coronavirus death toll showed no signs of easing up on Saturday as the figure topped 1,500 after the Hubei province's health commission confirmed 139 more people had died.

The health commission from the central Chinese province, the epicenter of the outbreak, also disclosed 2,420 fresh cases of the COVID-19 strain, half the number from the previous day.

Revisions to diagnosis see figures surge

The scale of the epidemic increased significantly this week after authorities in Hubei changed their criteria for qualifying cases, adding thousands of new patients to their province's figures.

Patients "clinically diagnosed" through lung imaging are now included, in addition to those that have shown up positive after laboratory analysis.

Beijing imposes 14-day quarantine for returnees

Meanwhile, Chinese state media revealed late Friday that Beijing's virus prevention working group has ordered everyone returning to the capital to go into quarantine for 14 days or risk punishment, in the latest attempt to stop the virus from spreading.

The working group warned there will be legal consequences for those who do not comply with the self-imposed 14-day quarantine. It did not elaborate on how the isolation will be enforced or what the punishment would be.

Chinese officials have warned that COVID-19 may spread further as migrants return to their jobs in cities or other provinces after a prolonged Lunar New Year holiday.

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