Beijing: The death toll due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China rose to over 2,000 as 136 new deaths from the disease were reported, while the confirmed cases stood at 74,185, the health authorities announced.
In its daily report, the National Health Commission (NHC) said that 2,004 people had died of COVID-19 so far. The NHC said 1,749 new cases of novel coronavirus infection have been confirmed.
Of the new deaths, 132 were reported from the worst-hit Hubei province and one each from Heilongjiang, Shandong, Guangdong and Guizhou.
Another 1,185 new suspected cases have been reported. On Feb 18, 236 patients became seriously ill, while 1,824 people were discharged from hospital after recovery.
The commission added that 11,977 patients remained in serious condition, with 5,248 others suspected of virus infection, media reports stated.
While deaths on the mainland exceeded 2,000, for the first time the number of recovered patients discharged from hospitals was greater than new cases reported. Outside Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, the number of new infections fell for the 15th consecutive day, reported South China Morning post.
Hubei continued to be hardest hit by the coronavirus, with 1,693 new cases and 132 new deaths on Feb 19 morning. The National Health Commission said 1,824 patients had recovered and had been discharged from hospital.
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials have repeatedly called on countries to refrain from taking measures to restrict China-related travel and trade, while applauding the drastic measures taken by China, such as its lockdown of tens of millions of people in numerous cities.
WHO experts are in China to collect information and offer guidance to authorities there. As part of that mission, the team may travel to Wuhan, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing.
Meanwhile, China reiterated that rumors about COVID-19 were terrible and had the potential to stigmatize Chinese people around the world.