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Coronavirus kills 2,118 in China exceed SARS fatalities in 2003

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Beijing, Feb 21: The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China has climbed to 2,118 with the death of 114 more people, while the overall confirmed cases increased to 74,576, Chinese officials said on Thursday.

Coronavirus kills 2,118 in China exceed SARS fatalities in 2003

China's National Health Commission (NHC) said the new confirmed cases declined to 394, registering the biggest drop since December when the first case was reported in Wuhan city in the central Hubei Province.

The NHC said on Thursday that it received reports of 114 deaths on Wednesday from 31 provincial-level regions. The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland reached 74,576 and 2,118 people died of the deadly disease.

The commission added that 4,922 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus.

Among the deaths, 108 were in Hubei Province, the epicentre of the virus and one each from Hebei, Shanghai, Fujian, Shandong, Yunnan and Shaanxi, it said.

The worst-hit Hubei Province and its provincial capital Wuhan which were the ground zero of the virus reported 349 new confirmed cases and 108 new deaths on Wednesday.

The latest report brought the total confirmed cases in the Hubei province to 62,031, the NHC said.

It said, China's daily new confirmed cases of the virus also known as COVID-19 outside Hubei province have dropped for 16 consecutive days indicating that the epidemic is largely confined to Hubei province and Wuhan city.

A total of 45 new confirmed cases were reported on Wednesday outside Hubei, down from 890 on February 3, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In Hubei too the cases are coming down, it said.

Significantly, China's daily number of newly cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new confirmed infections for a second consecutive day, the NHC said.

On Wednesday, 1,779 people were discharged from the hospitals after recovery, much higher than the number of the same day's new confirmed infections, which stands at 394, it said.

So far, a total of 16,155 patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been discharged from the hospitals after recovery by the end of Wednesday, it said.

In Hong Kong, 65 confirmed cases, including two deaths have been reported by the end of Wednesday. Macau reported 10 confirmed cases followed by 24 in Taiwan, including one death.

Also over 100 cities in China have adopted QR codes to facilitate the control of the novel coronavirus and work resumption, fintech firm Ant Financial said on Wednesday.

The QR codes, produced with the mobile app Alipay, are based on the users' movements over the previous two weeks and tell whether users have been to virus-hit areas.

Instead of filling in health report forms, residents can now show the QR codes at community or expressway checkpoints. Thus, no-contact checks can be carried out to reduce virus transmission risks.

According to Ant Financial, all cities in the provinces of Zhejiang, Sichuan and Hainan have adopted health QR codes, with 15 million people registered for the QR codes in Zhejiang alone.

Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, adopted the QR codes on February 11.

The QR codes show how the Internet is being used in China's fight against the epidemic, and provide strong support for prevention and control of the epidemic and work resumption, Pan Helin, an expert in economics at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Xinhua reported.

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