Death toll in China COVID -19 epidemic surges past 1,500 Over 66 thousand infected.

Saturday, 15 February 2020 - 8:25

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The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic surged past 1,500 after 139 more people died in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

The province's health commission also reported 2,420 new cases of the COVID-19 strain, about half the number from the previous day.

At least 1,519 people have now died from the outbreak that first emerged in Hubei's capital, Wuhan, in December and snowballed into a nationwide epidemic a month later.

More than 66,000 people have now been infected, with most deaths occurring in Hubei.

It has been reported that Beijing has ordered everyone returning to the city to go into quarantine for 14 days or risk punishment in the latest attempt to contain the deadly new Covid 19 coronavirus.

Residents were told to "self-quarantine or go to designated venues to quarantine" after returning to the Chinese capital from holidays.

The measure came as Egypt confirmed the first coronavirus case in Africa.