Beijing: The death toll in China's novel coronavirus epidemic has climbed to 1,523 with 143 new fatalities reported mostly from the worst-affected Hubei province while the confirmed cases jumped to over 66,000, health officials said on Saturday.
The country's Health Commission said it received reports of 2,641 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 143 deaths on Friday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Among the deaths, 139 were in Hubei Province, two in Henan and one in Beijing and Chongqing respectively, the commission said.
Another 2,277 new suspected cases were reported Friday, said the commission.
Also on Friday, 849 patients became seriously ill, while 1,373 people were discharged from hospital after recovery, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland has reached 66,492 by the end of Friday, and 1,523 people have died of the disease, it said.
The commission added that 11,053 patients remained in severe condition, and 8,969 people were suspected of being infected with the virus.
A total of 8,096 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.
The commission said 513,183 close contacts have been traced, adding that among them 30,081 were discharged from medical observation on Friday, with 169,039 others still under medical observation.
By the end of Friday, 56 confirmed cases including one death reported in Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 18 in Taiwan.
On Friday, the Chinese government had highlighted the continued drop of coronavirus disease, officially termed by the WHO as COVID-19, all over the country except in Hubei province.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the use of digital technology such as big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to better support epidemic monitoring and analysis, virus tracing, prevention and treatment, and resource allocation.
His call came amid deployment of robots in hospitals in Wuhan treating the virus patients to supply and other materials.