Over 5000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday alone, the China national health commission has said.
Officials, however, explained that the new cases reflect a new methodology adapted by officials in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, where a patient is diagnosed by a physician before they are officially confirmed by laboratory tests.
The Chinese authorities said henceforth, people who display symptoms of the virus, plus a CT scan showing chest infection, will now be counted as confirmed cases.
Out of the 5,090 new cases, 3,095 were said to have been diagnosed through the new methodology.
The officials added that they are hopeful the new method would help identify suspected cases so they can get medical attention on time.
According to the commission, more than 1,700 Chinese medical workers have been infected with COVID-19, six of whom have died.
On Friday, Egypt confirmed a case of the disease, marking the first confirmed instance of the virus in Africa.
Over 64,000 cases of the disease have been recorded worldwide, with about 1,400 deaths.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the outbreak a global health emergency, appealing for $675 million to fund a three-month response plan.
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