BEIJING — The death toll in China from the coronavirus epidemic rose to 2,236 on Friday after 118 more people died, most of them in the hard-hit epicentre province of Hubei, the government said.
The National Health Commission also said in its daily update that China had confirmed 889 new cases.
The number is up from the previous day when it reported the lowest number of new infections in nearly a month, which fuelled hopes that the epidemic is nearing its peak.
More than 75,000 coronavirus infections have now been reported in China, and hundreds more overseas in more than 25 countries.
The vast majority of the deaths and overall cases in China remain in Hubei and particularly the provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December.
The numbers have been muddied, however, by China changing the criteria it uses to arrive at a diagnosis.
China said on Thursday that it had once again revised the way it confirms infections and would now include only those diagnosed by laboratory tests.
It was the second revision in just eight days, a move that could muddle efforts to track the spread of the illness.
Chinese health officials had last week said that patients from Hubei who had been diagnosed through clinical methods including lung imaging would be added to the count in addition to those confirmed by lab tests.
That led to a huge one-day increase in the number of confirmed cases — 14,840 — on February 13.
The change was blamed on a backlog of patients awaiting nucleic acid tests whose condition was deteriorating and needed urgent treatment.
Chinese officials said this week that their drastic containment efforts, including quarantining tens of millions of people in Hubei and restricting movements in other cities nationwide, have started to pay off.
A World Health Organization official noted the progress in China but warned it had not yet reached a turning point.