The death toll in China’s novel coronavirus has gone up to 2,236 with 118 more deaths reported, mostly from the hard-hit Hubei province, while the overall confirmed infection cases have climbed to 75,465, according to the Chinese health officials on Friday.

The number of deaths is higher than the previous day when 114 people died of the disease, but the country reported the lowest number of new infection cases in nearly a month, fuelling hopes that Beijing’s epidemic control efforts were working.

By the end of Thursday, a total of 2,236 people had died of the disease and 75,465 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported from 31 provincial-level regions and in China, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in its daily report on Friday.

Another 1,614 new suspected cases were reported on Thursday and 5,206 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus, the NHC said.

Among the deaths, 115 were from the epicentre of the virus Hubei province and one in Zhejiang, Chongqing and Yunnan, respectively, it said.

Also, 18,264 patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been discharged from hospitals after recovery by the end of Thursday.

Hubei Province, a centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reported 411 new confirmed cases and 115 new deaths on Thursday, according to the provincial health commission Friday.

The latest report brought the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 62,442. Wuhan, the provincial capital, recorded a total of 45,346 confirmed cases.

On Thursday, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) kicked off a Special Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Coronavirus Disease to discuss coordinating efforts in fighting against the COVID-19 outbreak.

The meeting, co-chaired by Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, was also being attended ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi.

Hong Kong has confirmed the virus in 62 patients, two of whom have died. The first infections were largely found within people who had travelled to the epicentre in China’s central Hubei province.

Thailand, which has imposed no such restrictions, reported a 90 per cent slump in arrivals from the mainland this month, a gut punch to an already beleaguered tourist sector which makes up nearly a fifth of the economy.

In 2003, 299 Hong Kongers were killed by an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) — 40 per cent of the global total fatalities.

Meanwhile, the director of a hospital in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, is among those who died on Tuesday. Zhiming, a neurosurgeon, is the first hospital head to die of the Coronavirus infection.

Authorities have placed about 56 million people in hard-hit central Hubei under an unprecedented lockdown. Other cities far from the epicentre have restricted the movements of residents, while Beijing ordered people arriving in the capital to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused alarm as it has crossed global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic.