China coronavirus cases exceed 55,000: National Health Commission

The number of coronavirus infections in reached 55,748, with 1,380 deaths, the National Health Commission said Friday.

In Hubei province alone, there were 4,823 new infections and 116 deaths registered over the previous day, regional health authorities in Hubei reported on Friday.

China corrected its national numbers after its initial daily update didn't line up with previous data and figures issued for Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The said the discrepancy was due to subtracting the number of deaths from previous data because of "duplications" in the statistics from Hubei province.

The data mix-up comes a day after Hubei reported a sharp increase of more than 14,000 new patients battling the Covid-19 illness caused by the virus, which sparked heightened concern around the world.

That rise was mostly due to more than 13,000 earlier cases that were only added to the tally on Thursday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The numbers appeared to spike after diagnosis rules were changed for hardest-hit Hubei, meaning that going forward lung screening results are also allowed as the basis for confirming infections rather than laboratory tests, which are used in the rest of China and abroad.

"We're not dealing with a spike of 14,000 [new] cases in a day," WHO emergency operations chief Mike Ryan told a press conference Thursday in Geneva.

China has been accused in the past of under-reporting the devastation produced by accidents and natural disasters.

The virus broke out in December, with the earliest cases linked to a food market in the central Chinese industrial hub of Wuhan. It has since spread to about two dozen countries, prompting governments to put travel restrictions in place.

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