The number of confirmed cases of a new form of coronavirus in China has increased to 1,287, China’s National Health Commission said on Saturday, adding that the death toll stood at 41 people.
“The number of confirmed cases of pneumonia, caused by a new coronavirus, in 29 Chinese provinces has reached 1,287, with 237 people being in critical condition. 41 people have died,” the commission said in a statement.
Earlier, the Global Times newspaper reported that the number of people who have died from the new coronavirus in the Chinese province of Hubei had risen from 24 to 39.
All the people who passed away in Hubei province were residents of the city of Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the epidemic.
According to the newspaper, the number of people infected in the province has increased to 729.
Meanwhile, Shanghai has shut down all cinemas during the Lunar New Year holidays, Reuters reported, citing the Liberation Daily. The holidays last until January 30. The outbreak of the virus has also prompted seven Chinese films that were set to premiere during the country's Lunar New Year holiday to postpone screenings.
In late December, an unknown type of pneumonia was first detected in Wuhan. Chinese experts later tentatively determined that this was a new strain of coronavirus, currently being labelled as 2019-nCoV or Novel Coronavirus.
Confirmed cases of new coronavirus have also been recorded in the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Nepal.
Earlier, the French Health Ministry confirmed three cases of the deadly coronavirus in the country, the first in Europe.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization said it was too early to declare a global emergency over the outbreak.
The so-called Wuhan coronavirus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses that caused SARS - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which also originated in China in 2002 and resulted in the deaths of about 800 people all over the globe.