BEIJING: The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic climbed to 1,868 on Tuesday as 98 more people died while the total number of confirmed cases jumped to 72,436.

Of the new deaths, 93 were reported from Hubei Province, the epicentre of the virus, the National Health Commission said. On Monday, 1,097 patients became seriously ill and 11,741 patients remained in severe condition, the commission said.

Top World Health Organisation experts, including from the US, have joined the fight against the virus, called COVID-19, in China. China confirmed that the 12-member WHO team includes Americans, as sought by the US.

"The foreign experts on board the China-WHO Joint Mission have arrived in Beijing. They have started relevant activities. We have experts from the US in the mission," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media.

NHC said China has stepped up efforts to shore up weak spots as the epidemic prevention and control have entered the most crucial stage.

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