March 9, 2020 / 5:31 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. CDC reports over 500 cases of coronavirus, including those under investigation

(Adds updated case count from telebriefing)

March 9 (Reuters) - A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said on Monday the agency had received reports of more than 500 cases of coronavirus until last evening and that it expects the bulk of testing in the country to be done by commercial labs.

Commercial labs have been stepping up their testing efforts after the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration allowed immediate use of tests developed and validated by some labs, to achieve rapid testing capacity.

Officials expect to ship additional test kits to cover between 1.5 million and 1.7 million people by the end of this week, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters on Thursday here

According to CDC's website, the number of coronavirus cases stood at 472 and total number of deaths at 19, as of 4 pm on March 8. (bit.ly/2IuYfYb)

There were 322 cases of COVID-19 under investigation, the agency said.

Reporting by Trisha Roy and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shinjini Ganguli

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