China reported 136 more deaths from the novel coronavirus outbreak by Wednesday morning, bringing the total to 2,004, the South China Morning Post reported. The country’s National Health Commission also said that 1,749 people were diagnosed with the illness, making the total number of people diagnosed so far 74,185.

In Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, there were 132 deaths and 1,693 new cases by Wednesday morning. The National Health Commission said 1,824 patients had recovered and had been discharged from hospital. Within Hubei, the city of Wuhan remained the worst affected, reporting 116 of the 132 deaths and 1,660 of the 1,693 new cases.

Over 9,100 people have recovered from the illness in Hubei so far, while 11,200 remain in severe or critical condition. The virus is officially known as COVID-19.

An elderly man in Hong Kong died of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, reported AFP. This is the second death in the autonomous Chinese city.

“A 70-year-old male patient who was infected with the novel coronavirus deteriorated and succumbed in Princess Margaret Hospital this morning,” authorities said in a statement. He was admitted to the hospital on February 12. The man had travelled to mainland China for a day on January 22, reported South China Morning Post.

Outside mainland China, six people have died so far. While Hong Kong has reported two deaths, one death each has been reported from Japan, Taiwan, France and Philippines.

The World Health Organization has repeatedly asked countries not to restrict trade and travel to China. However, on Tuesday, Russia announced that it would impose a blanket ban on Chinese citizens entering the country starting Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, claimed that its measures to combat the coronavirus were achieving “visible progress”, AFP reported. However, WHO has warned that it is too early to tell if the decline in the number of cases would continue.

Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong on Tuesday thanked India for helping his country deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“At this difficult times, I am deeply touched by the kindness of the Indian friends,” the envoy said at a press conference in New Delhi. “All these reminded me of the time when Dr Kotnis saved many lives and made great contribution to the Chinese people’s liberation cause.” Sun was referring to Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis, who died in the 1940s while treating wounded Chinese soldiers during the country’s conflict with Japan. Kotnis is revered in China.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Centre will soon announce steps to deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on certain sectors of Indian industry. Three positive coronavirus cases in India have been reported from Kerala till now, but two of the patients who tested positive have been discharged in the past week.

China has also launched a crackdown on those criticising the way it has handled the crisis. An anti-corruption activist and civil rights lawyer, identified as Xu Zhiyong, was arrested on Saturday for criticising Xi’s handling of the epidemic.

Meanwhile, the director of a hospital in Wuhan died on Tuesday, becoming the seventh medical worker to die of COVID-19.