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NEWS / CHINA

Death toll from coronavirus rises to 563 in mainland China

The National Health Commission said another 3,694 coronavirus cases were reported throughout the country on February 5, bringing the total to 28,018.

Another 73 people on the Chinese mainland died on Wednesday from the coronavirus outbreak, the highest daily increase so far, bringing the total death toll to 563, the country's health authority said on Thursday.

China's National Health Commission said another 3,694 coronavirus cases were reported throughout the country on February 5, bringing the total to 28,018.

Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, earlier reported 70 deaths on Wednesday, and 2,987 new confirmed cases - more than 80% of the total.

The other fatalities on Wednesday were in the city of Tianjin, the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and Guizhou province in the southwest.

The little-understood new coronavirus has spread fear around the world, along with the shunning of any suspected to have a link to the outbreak that appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has revived fears of the deadly 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS that killed almost 800 people.

Hundreds of experts will meet in Geneva next Tuesday and Wednesday to set research and development priorities for coronavirus drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to combat the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

"There are no proven effective therapeutics for novel coronavirus," Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO emergencies programme, told a news conference. WHO epidemiologist Dr Maria van Kerkhove said participants would include experts in clinical investigations and research into an animal source of the virus which emerged at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

"We want to bring the best minds, people who have experience in this so come around a comprehensive research agenda around coronavirus," she said.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a multinational WHO-led team would go to China very soon to work with Chinese authorities in tackling the outbreak. He gave no details.

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