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Michael Smith

| The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 1523 after another 143 fatalities were reported, mainly in Hubei province.

Authorities said on Saturday that the infection rate in mainland China increased by 2642 to 66,492. Most of these cases were in  Hubei, which is at the centre of the outbreak, where infections increased by 2420 to 54,406

Hubei also accounted for most of the reported deaths with 139.

The number of new cases in Hubei included 1138 “clinically diagnosed” cases. Those cases would not have previously been included in the numbers until the reporting methodology was changed on Thursday.


A Chinese man wears a protective mask as he walks by a picture of the late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong, left, in Beijing. AP

The death and infection rate continues to climb in Hubei and is not expected to peak for weeks. Elsewhere in China, the government said the daily infection rate and increase in deaths was slowing.

The global death toll is now 1526 including fatalities in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines.

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Beijing announced Friday night that any residents returning to the city would face 14 days home quarantine. Some parts of Shanghai and other cities have imposed this rule due to fears millions of returning workers could accelerate the spread of the virus.

Michael Smith is The Australian Financial Review’s China correspondent. Based in Shanghai, Michael has more than 20 years experience as a journalist. Connect with Michael on Twitter. Email Michael at [email protected]

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