China virus toll revised down to 1,380

China virus toll revised down to 1,380 after deaths double-counted

Hubei reported more than 4,800 new cases on Friday

Laboratory technicians work on testing samples from people to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a laboratory in Shenyang in China's northeastern Liaoning province. (AFP Photo)

China's death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic was revised downwards to 1,380 on Friday after officials said some fatalities had been counted more than once.

The National Health Commission removed 108 deaths after discovering "duplicate statistics" in hard-hit central Hubei province, according to its daily update, without providing more details.

The commission also subtracted 1,043 from the total number of confirmed infections in Hubei after a "verification".

The death toll now stands at 1,380 even after accounting for 116 new deaths in Hubei and five others reported elsewhere in China on Friday, according to the commission.

The total number of cases has now risen to 63,851.

The extent of the epidemic seemed to deepen on Thursday after authorities in Hubei started counting patients who were diagnosed through lung imaging, in addition to those who undergo lab tests.

The revision added nearly 15,000 patients to Hubei's count in a single day, with officials explaining that past cases were included. The first cases emerged in December in Wuhan, Hubei's capital.