Created: February 13, 2020 06:10 AM
BEIJING (AP) - China is reporting 254 new deaths and a spike in virus cases of more than 15,000 after its hardest-hit province applied a new system that broadens the scope of diagnoses for the outbreak, which has spread to more than 20 countries.
The new approach came on the same day that the province replaced its top officials in an apparent response to public criticism of local authorities' handling of the epidemic.
The total deaths in mainland China is now more than 1,300, with the total number of confirmed cases exceeding 52,000. That number now includes patients who have been diagnosed with a doctors' analysis combined with lung imaging, as opposed to waiting for laboratory test results.
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(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)