The death toll in the outbreak of a new pneumonia-causing coronavirus has exceeded 2,000 in China, health authorities said Wednesday, with Hong Kong recording a second death in the territory.
Besides being notified of 136 new deaths -- taking the total to 2,004 -- authorities said they received reports of 1,749 new infection cases on Tuesday, bringing the tally in mainland China to 74,185.
The vast majority of new deaths and infections have been reported in Hubei, the central Chinese province at the center of the epidemic.
Although the number of new infections has fallen below 2,000 for a second day, Tuesday's death toll was higher than Monday's 98.
Hong Kong witnessed its second coronavirus-related death on Wednesday, according to local media, making it the sixth death reported outside mainland China. Japan, Taiwan, France and the Philippines have each reported one death.
Local reports described the latest fatality as a 70-year-old Hong Kong resident who collapsed at his home on Feb. 12.
On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping held separate telephone calls with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron. Xi stressed China has reached a critical stage in its fight against the epidemic, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"The impact of the epidemic on China's economy is temporary," Xi told Macron, while assuring Johnson that China is still "confident and capable" of achieving this year's economic and social development goals, the ministry said.
With the number of infections in China growing daily, Russia is to temporarily ban Chinese people from entering the country for employment, education or tourism, Russian media reported Tuesday.
The measure, signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, will take effect Thursday, and is aimed at protecting the health of Russian people, according to media.
Russia has already barred Chinese group tours and suspended passenger trains connecting the two countries.