Drop in new China virus cases as toll reaches 2,345

The total number of infections now amounts to over 76,000 nationwide. (AP pic)

BEIJING: The death toll in China from the new coronavirus outbreak rose by 109, the National Health Commission said Saturday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,345.

Another 397 new cases were reported nationwide, down from nearly 900 officially reported Friday, bringing the total number of cases to over 76,000.

The drop in new cases of the novel coronavirus came as officials in Hubei province – whose capital city Wuhan is the epicentre the outbreak – were ordered to revise figures to clear “doubt” around the data.

The number of new cases nationwide for Feb 19 was revised up to 820 up from 394 previously reported, the National Health Commission said Saturday.

It also adjusted upwards the total confirmed cases for Feb 20 by over 400 cases to 75,891.

The decision to amend Hubei’s past data, which was announced on Friday by local authorities, is the latest in a string of changes made to Hubei’s counting method – further complicating efforts to track the spread of the illness.

Last week, Chinese health officials added patients from Hubei who had been diagnosed via clinical methods including lung imaging on top of those confirmed by lab tests.

But on Thursday, Hubei officials backtracked the decision and deducted 279 cases – which they were ordered to re-add to the count on Friday.