The drastic jump comes after official figures showed coronavirus cases had dropped for two days in a row. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains how the report got it wrong. "Is transmission happening or is it not?"
China is struggling to restart its economy after the annual Lunar New Year holiday was extended to try to keep people home and contain novel coronavirus.
The skyrocketing number of new cases in Hubei comes after health officials announced Thursday they had begun including people diagnosed using new clinical methods in official statistics.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the virus poses a "grave threat" to the world, with chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying the virus could have "more powerful consequences than any terrorist action".
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters five of the patients who were already sent to hospitals for isolation and treatment have severe symptoms and are on artificial respirators or under intensive care.
In its latest update, China's National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on February 13, taking the accumulated total infected to 63,851 people.
Hubei authorities said that the increases were because they had broadened their definition for infection to include people "clinically diagnosed" via lung imaging.
Hubei's new counting methodology might be a legitimate attempt to be more transparent, analysts said, but the immediate effects were to sow more distrust. Up until now, they had exclusively confirmed cases with a more sophisticated laboratory test. Health officials said they looked into past suspected cases and revised their diagnoses, suggesting older cases were also included in Thursday's numbers. Those followed the sacking earlier in the week of two leaders of the provincial health commission and reports from state media of a slew of others expelled from the party for missteps related to the epidemic.
"It is not clear if the problem up to now, on this issue, was lack of transparency or simply bad medical practice", Crane said. "We see no significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak".
"I suspect but can't be certain that the underlying trend is still downwards", Professor Hunter said.
Officials in Hubei have been heavily criticized for their handling of the epidemic in a province of nearly 60 million people.
The political shakeup may have been timed to match the change in reporting standards, so that centrally appointed newcomers could be perceived as taking control and fixing the crisis, versus local officials who are now shouldering the blame for allowing the virus' spread.
The death toll had reached 1,483 in an announcement earlier in the morning, but it was revised down after the authorities corrected their tallies.
The health authority said an accumulated total of 63,851 people have been infected by the coronavirus.
In Cambodia, another cruise ship, the Westerdam, finally docked after being turned away by several Asian and Pacific governments.
A team of health officials will board the ship to conduct health checks on the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members before they will be allowed to disembark.