BEIJING: Mainland China had 16 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Sunday (Mar 15), the National Health Commission said on Monday, down from 20 a day earlier.

That brings the total number of confirmed cases in China so far to 80,860.

The death toll from the outbreak in China had reached 3,213 as of the end of Sunday, up by 14 from the previous day.

In the central province of Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, there were 14 new deaths, with the provincial capital of Wuhan accounting for 13 of the fatalities.

READ: China state media accuses US politicians of spreading ‘political virus’

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More than 160,000 people around the world have tested positive for COVID-19, which has killed more than 6,000 people.

The World Health Organization described the new coronavirus as a pandemic for the first time last week, adding that Italy and Iran were now on the frontline of the disease and other countries would soon join them.

Some United States politicians are using coronavirus as a weapon to smear China, the Xinhua official news agency said on Sunday, as a war of words escalated between the two countries over China’s handling of the epidemic.

Xinhua also attacked the US politicians for calling the virus the “Wuhan virus” or “Chinese virus”.

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