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China records deadliest day with 254 coronavirus fatalities

China on Thursday reported 254 fatalities from the coronavirus outbreak — the highest in a single day and double the previous record high — taking the death toll to 1,367, as authorities adopted a new diagnosis method amid concerns that the crisis is nowhere near slowing down contrary to official projections. China’s central Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, reported 242 deaths and nearly 15,000 fresh cases on Wednesday, said Mi Feng, a spokesperson with the National Health Commission. Twelve fatalities came from other provinces, including two in Henan, and one in Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps respectively.

The total number of deaths from the more than two-month-old virus outbreak as reported on Thursday stood at 1,367, with the number of confirmed cases mounting to 59,804, health officials were quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Philippines reported the first death outside China from the virus. So far 445 cases have been reported from about 26 countries including three from India.

Amid growing public anger over the handling of the crisis, the ruling Communist Party of China replaced two high-ranking officials in Hubei province, where coronavirus first emerged in late December in provincial capital Wuhan.

Xinhua reported that former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong, 61, a close ally of President Xi Jinping, has been appointed as the new Hubei party secretary, replacing Jiang Chaoliang.

The leader of Wuhan city, Ma Guoqiang, 56, has been replaced by Wang Zhonglin, 57, the party secretary of Shandong’s provincial capital Jinan.

Jiang, 61, is the highest-ranking political casualty so far in the virus outbreak. 

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