BEIJING: The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak went up to 563 as 73 people died on Wednesday, the highest one-day fatalities so far, while total confirmed cases rose sharply to 28,018.

On Wednesday, 73 people died due to the virus and the new confirmed cases of the epidemic went up by 3,694, the country's National Health Commission announced on Thursday.

Among the deceased, 70 were from Hubei Province and its provincial Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak.

On Wednesday, 640 patients became seriously ill and 3,859 remained in severe condition, the commission said.

As the virus is transmitted from human-to-human, over 2.82 lakh close contacts of the patients have been traced, with over 1.86 lakh others still under medical observation.

By the end of Wednesday, 21 confirmed cases had been reported from Hong Kong 10 in the Macao and 11 in Taiwan, the commission said.

The virus cases abroad climbed to 182 on Wednesday. The Philippines reported first death abroad while Hong Kong announced its first casualty on Sunday.

Chinese officials hope the cases will come down in the coming days with more specialised hospitals being set up in Wuhan.

China's Ministry of Science and Technology said that a batch of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, which will be put into clinical trials to test its efficiency on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is expected to arrive in China soon.

Remdesivir has been used to treat Ebola infections abroad, a media report said.

So far there is no set treatment to cure the coronavirus cases.

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