Virus cases surge after China revises way count is tallied

Residents wearing masks wait at a traffic light in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. China is struggling to restart its economy after the annual Lunar New Year holiday was extended to try to keep people home and contain the novel coronavirus. Traffic remained light in Beijing, and many people were still working at home. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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BEIJING (AP) China is reporting 254 new deaths and a spike in virus cases of more than 15,000, after its hardest-hit province applied a new system that broadens the scope of diagnoses for the outbreak, which has spread to more than two dozen countries.

The new way of tallying has frustrated some who are struggling to grasp the trajectory of the epidemic.

The total deaths in mainland China now are more than 1,300, with confirmed cases exceeding 59,000.

That number includes patients diagnosed with a doctors' analysis combined with lung imaging, as opposed to waiting for laboratory test results.

The hardest-hit Chinese province has also replaced its top officials in an apparent response to public criticism of local authorities' handling of the epidemic.