International desk – The death toll from the novel coronavirus has rose to 1,350 with more people contacting the pathogen in China and elsewhere.
Chinese official media reported that some 242 deaths were recorded in the Chinese province of Hubei, the locked-down epicenter of the outbreak, on Wednesday.
BBC reported that there was also a huge increase in the number of cases, with 14,840 people diagnosed with Covid-19, the virus has been named by the World Health Organization.
It added Hubei started using a broader definition to diagnose people – which accounts for most of the rise in cases.
Earlier, China sacked two top officials in Hubei province hours after the new figures were revealed.
But the new cases and deaths in the province have pushed the national death toll above 1,350 – with almost 60,000 infections in total.
Only Hubei province – which accounts for more than 80% of overall Chinese infections – is using the new definition to diagnose new cases.
Amid the rise in virus spread, the Communist Party secretary in Hubei, Jiang Chaoliang, has been replaced by the Shanghai party chief, Ying Yong. State media reported that the party chief of the capital city, Wuhan, has also been relieved of his duties.
A number of health officials were “removed” from their jobs earlier in the week.
Outside China, the coronavirus has spread in Japan (199), Taiwan (18), Vietnam (15), United Kingdom (8), Italy (3), Finland (1), Belgium (1), Singapore (47), Malaysia (18), United States (13), Canada (7), Russia (2), Nepal (1), Thailand (33), Germany (16), France (11), India (3), Spain (2), Sri Lanka (1), South Korea (28), Australia (15), United Arab Emirates (8), Philippines (3), Cambodia (1) and Sweden (1).