New Delhi: The number of fatalities and new cases from China’s coronavirus outbreak made a dramatic jump on Thursday, with 242 more deaths and nearly 15,000 extra patients in hard-hit Hubei province. The death toll now stands ar 1,355 and nearly 60,000 people have been infected. The leap is due to a change in the method of diagnosis, the authorities said.

In a statement, the Hubei health commission said it would now include cases that were “clinically diagnosed” in its official toll. This means lung imaging on suspected cases can be considered sufficient to diagnose the virus, rather than the standard nucleic acid tests.

Of the dramatic jump in figures Thursday, it said the new classification accounted for 13,332 of the cases and just over half the new death toll.

What Does This Mean?

Cases which were not declared positive before may be taken into account now.

Why China Changes Method?

Hubei health commission told AFP that the change would mean patients could get treatment “as early as possible” and be “consistent” with the classification used in other provinces. It said it had made the change “as our understanding of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus deepens, and as we accumulate experience in diagnosis and treatment”.

On Wednesday, 94 new deaths were reported and the death toll was at 1,110.