China reports major drop in new virus cases; 143 new deaths

In this Feb. 13, 2020 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, nurses in protective suits treat a patient in the intensive care unit at Ditan Hospital in Beijing. (Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — China has reported 2,641 new virus cases, a major drop from the higher numbers in recent days since a broader diagnostic method was implemented.

A notice from China's National Health Commission says the number of new deaths rose slightly to 143, bringing the total fatalities in mainland China to 1,523. The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 66,492.

COVID-19, a disease stemming from a new form of coronavirus, has spread to more than 24 countries since December, when the first infections appeared in central China.

Beijing issued a notice saying people returning to the capital will now have to isolate themselves for two weeks either at home or in a concentrated area for medical observation.

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