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WHO: Spike in China's Coronavirus Cases Due to New Way of Counting Infections

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Published on Feb 13, 2020

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) emergencies chief said on Thursday that a new way of confirming COVID-19 cases adopted in China's Hubei province should allow clinicians to report cases more quickly and get people care faster.

Speaking at a WHO news conference, Dr Michael Ryan explained that medical professionals in Hubei province - the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak - had begun classifying suspected cases based on chest imaging alone, prior to laboratory confirmations.

He said that other parts of China, however, would still need to wait for cases to be confirmed in laboratories before they could be officially counted.

Ryan also pointed to "backlogs" in testing - and cautioned that an upsurge in case counts by nearly 14,000 under the new calculation process did not mean that those would have all come in at once.

The outbreak of the new virus was first identified in China in December.

Over 60,000 people have been infected globally and over 1,360 are dead, with 99% of the cases in China.

Experts believe the true scope of the outbreak could be higher.

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