242 people died from the new coronavirus in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday, making it the deadliest day of the outbreak.
Wednesday also saw a sharp increase in the number of cases as a further 14,840 people were diagnosed with the virus.
Hubei is using a broader definition to diagnose people – which accounts for most of the rise in cases.
Since the figures were revealed, China has sacked two top officials in Hubei province.
The number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Hubei was stabilising, but Wednesday’s sharp increase is worrying.
The new cases and deaths in the province have taken the national death toll above 1,350 – and almost 60,000 infected in total.
China has in the past been accused of hiding the full extent of the outbreak according to BBC’s Nick Beake.
Professor David Heymann from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “What has happened in China is that they have changed the definition of what the disease really is – now they are taking people who have lesser symptoms.
“The deaths are quite worrisome, there are an increased number of deaths reported, but if you look overall at the total number of deaths and the total number of cases, the fatality ratio is about the same as it has been – but it is still high, as high as the death rate in influenza.”
Only Hubei province – which is more than 80% of overall Chinese infections – is using the new definition to diagnose new cases.
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