China reports 648 new cases of coronavirus, but infections outside Hubei falling

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Sunday reported a rise in the number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus, but the number of fresh infections and deaths outside of the epicenter of central Hubei province continued to fall.

Nationwide, the number of new cases rose to 648 as of Saturday, from 397, the previous day, National Health Commission said.

That brought the total number of confirmed cases in China to 76,936.

The number of new cases outside of Hubei stood at 18, the lowest since the commission started publishing nationwide data a month ago.

The nationwide death toll rose by 97 to 2,442, but only one new death was outside of Hubei.

Of the 96 deaths in Hubei, 82 were in the provincial capital, Wuhan, which has been locked down for several weeks in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

The number of new cases in Hubei on Saturday rose to 630, reversing five straight days of declines, driven by a spike in new cases in Wuhan.

Reporting by Emily Chow in Shanghai and Lusha Zhang in Beijing; Editing by Kim Coghill