The death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic in China rose more than 1,500 on Saturday after 139 more people died in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
State Councilor Wang Yi, who also serves as China's Foreign Minister, acknowledged that the infection, now known as COVID-19, was a great challenge, but he defended the management of the epidemic in Beijing and lashed out at the " exaggerated reaction "of some countries.
"Thanks to our efforts, the epidemic is generally under control," he told Reuters news agency on Friday.
More than two dozen countries have confirmed cases and several nations have suspended trade and travel ties with China in an attempt to contain the virus. There have been three deaths outside of mainland China, one in Hong Kong one in Philippines, and the most recent in Japan.
World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the virus represents a "serious threat,quot; to the world, and Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus could have "more powerful consequences than any terrorist action."
Egypt reported its first case of coronavirus on Friday, becoming the first country on the African continent to confirm a case, and the second in the Middle East region, after the United Arab Emirates diagnosed its first cases at the end of last month.
Here are the latest updates:
Saturday February 15
China reports 143 new deaths from coronavirus on the mainland
The National Health Commission of China said the death toll from COVID-19 had reached 1,523 in mainland China at the end of Friday, 143 points more than the previous day.
Across mainland China, there were 2,641 new infections confirmed on Friday. The total number accumulated so far has reached 66,492.
Nearly 65,000 people are infected worldwide with coronavirus (5:20)
Japanese man who visited Hawaii confirmed with coronavirus
It was confirmed that a man who visited Hawaii had coronavirus when he returned home to Japan, according to Hawaiian officials.
Health officials were tracking details about his trip in the state of Aloha, including his flight information and the people he had close contact with.
The man was in Hawaii from January 28 to February 7 and had symptoms similar to those of a cold during his last days there, said Hawaiian health director Bruce Anderson. He only developed more severe symptoms when he returned to Japan, where he was examined and tested positive for the disease, Anderson.
Because of when his symptoms began, authorities believe he became infected in Japan or while in transit to Hawaii, said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.
"Our approach at this point is to try to understand who potentially this person may have had close and prolonged contact," Park said, adding that they are concentrating on their whereabouts while they were on Oahu because that's where the symptoms developed.
The death toll in China exceeds 1,500
The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic increased more than 1,500 after 139 more people died in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
The province's health commission also reported 2,420 new cases of the COVID-19 strain, about half of the previous day's number.
At least 1,519 people have died from the outbreak that first emerged in the capital of Hubei, Wuhan, in December and became a national epidemic a month later. More than 66,000 people have been infected, and most of the deaths occurred in Hubei.
Al Jazeera and news agencies