The region in China that has served as the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak has confirmed a further 15 deaths, bringing the death toll to a total of 41.
The Health Commission of Hubei Province said in a statement published early Saturday that 180 new cases had been reported as of end-Friday, putting the total number of confirmed patients in the province at 752, and the total for the country at 1,287.
Officials were also able to confirm 15 deaths in the region, which includes the city of Wuhan where the disease is thought to have originated.
This followed the news that the deadly illness had reached Europe, after France confirmed three cases. The UK is also believed to be tracking down some 2,000 people who arrived in the country from China in the last two weeks.
The city of Wuhan has been on lock down with all flights cancelled and checkpoints blockading the main routes.
According to Chinese state media, the government is hoping to have a new hospital built from scratch in the region over the course of the weekend.
Hubei’s health authority said there were 658 patients affected by the virus in medical care, 57 of whom were critically ill.
While cases have been confirmed in locations across the globe – the majority have been concentrated in China, where all of the confirmed deaths so far have taken place.
The virus has also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, the United States, and France – which became the first European country to announce confirmed cases on Friday evening.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus an “emergency in China” this week but stopped short of declaring it of international concern.