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Coronavirus deaths, cases leap in China; markets shiver

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese province at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more cases on Thursday under a new diagnostic method, raising fresh questions about the scale of the crisis.

The sharp rise in the headline number of deaths and infections unnerved world markets, as traders halted a recent rally in stocks and retreated back to the safety of government bonds and gold.

Health officials in China’s central province of Hubei said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on Wednesday, the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December.

That took total deaths in China from the newly discovered virus to 1,367, up 254 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said.

For all related coverage on the outbreak, click: here

For related Reuters graphics on the new coronavirus, click: tmsnrt.rs/2GVwIyw

The spike in numbers came a day after markets were cheered when China reported its lowest number of new cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by the country’s senior medical adviser that the epidemic could end by April.

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