Hubei province and its provincial capital Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, reported 69 deaths on Thursday and a total of 1,540 patients infected with the virus have been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Iran Press/AsiaThe death toll in China's novel coronavirus epidemic has risen to 636 with 73 new mortalities reported, mostly from the worst-affected Hubei province, while the total number of confirmed cases has crossed 31,000, Chinese health officials said on Friday.

A total of 1,540 patients infected with the virus have been discharged from hospital after recovery by the end of Thursday, it said, highlighting that a large number of people are getting cured.

The Chinese officials said 19 foreign nationals living in the country had been confirmed of contracting the novel coronavirus as of Thursday but did not disclose their nationalities.

The deceased on Thursday also included Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistle-blowers who warned other medics of the coronavirus outbreak but were reprimanded by the police.

Meanwhile, China on Thursday opened a new 1,500-bed makeshift hospital especially built for virus patients, days after a 1,000-bed hospital started functioning with prefabricated wards and isolation rooms in Wuhan.

Chinese officials argue that the death toll and confirmed cases are rising in Hubei province because of the lack of enough hospitals and beds. Officials also started setting up tent hospitals and mobile clinics to treat the growing number of patients.
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