The number of deaths in China's central Hubei province from a coronavirus outbreak has risen by 69 to 618 as of Thursday, Chinese state television has reported.

There had been a further 2447 cases detected in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, taking the total in the province to 22,112.

Total cases in mainland China now stand at 30,818. The outbreak has spread to 27 other countries, including 14 confirmed cases in Australia.

Most of the new deaths were in Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated.


Wuhan reported 64 new deaths on Thursday, up from 52 on Wednesday. A total of 478 people in Wuhan have now died from the virus. New confirmed cases in Wuhan increased by 1501 on Thursday.

The total death toll now stands at 634. Only two of those deaths occurred outside of mainland China — one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

It came as authorities in Wuhan were ordered to immediately round up all coronavirus infected for mass quarantine camps, with a senior Chinese official describing the deadly outbreak as "wartime conditions".

Sun Chunlan, a vice premier in charge of the government response to the outbreak, gave the order to round up the infected and place them in isolation, quarantine or designated hospitals, The New York Times reports.

Authorities in the city of 11 million people have scrambled to meet those instructions by setting up makeshift mass quarantine shelters this week, including in a sports stadium, exhibition centre and a building complex.

Sun said investigators should go to every home and check temperatures of every resident and interview the close contacts of infected patients. "Set up a 24-hour duty system. During these wartime conditions, there must be no deserters, or they will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever," she said.

Authorities plan to herd all infected people into special camps, reports claim. Photo / AP
Authorities plan to herd all infected people into special camps, reports claim. Photo / AP

When inspecting the Hongshan Stadium shelter on Tuesday, she said anyone who should be admitted must be rounded up. "It must be cut off from the source!" she said of the virus, according to Chinese news outlet Modern Express. "You must keep a close eye! Don't miss it!"

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Posts circulating on social media have highlighted poor conditions at the makeshift facilities, with many complaining of freezing conditions, lack of medical staff and shortage of supplies, reports

This medic was spotted sleeping at their desk. Photo / Twitter
This medic was spotted sleeping at their desk. Photo / Twitter

Meanwhile, photos of exhausted doctors and nurses are being shared online in China, as the country pays tribute to the thousands of workers on the frontline of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

More than 28000 people have been infected with the novel 2019-nCoV virus across the world, but the vast majority of cases are concentrated in Wuhan, in the country's Hubei province, where the disease was first detected.

Since December, hospitals have been inundated with ill patients and medical resources have been stretched.

Photos shared on state-owned media showed tired medics slumped over desks and sleeping on floors of unnamed hospitals, still dressed in their protective clothing.

On social media, people have dubbed the workers "heroes" and "warriors in white".

"They've been fighting for us. They've been battling the virus. They are parents, they are also daughters and sons," the Communist party's newspaper, People's Daily wrote.

Earlier this week, photos also emerged of the marks and sores left on nurses' faces after hours of wearing face masks.

Agonising footage also showed workers in Wuhan breaking down screaming and crying over a lack of sleep.