BEIJING -- More than 1,700 medical workers on the front lines of China's battle with a new coronavirus have been infected, and six have died, medical authorities said on Friday.
The vast majority of the medics -- 1,502 out of 1,716 -- have fallen ill in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, said Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission.
It is the first time China is releasing an official count of infections among medical personnel during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Public sympathy for medical workers exposing themselves to the disease has surged in China, especially after the death last week of Li Wenliang, a doctor from Wuhan who sounded an early alarm about the virus and was initially rebuked by authorities for doing so.
Videos were also circulating online about a Wuhan nurse who reportedly walks to work every morning, with her husband driving behind her to light her away, as she has decided to self-quarantine from her family to avoid exposing them to the virus.
Meanwhile, authorities said on Friday that the number of coronavirus infections across the country had reached 55,748, with 1,380 deaths.
In Hubei province alone, there were 4,823 new infections and 116 deaths registered beyond what was reported the previous day, according to regional authorities.
China corrected its national numbers after its initial daily update didn't line up with previous data and figures issued for Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The National Health Commission said the discrepancy was due to subtracting the number of deaths from previous data because of "duplications" in the statistics from Hubei province.
The data mix-up comes a day after Hubei reported a sharp increase of more than 14,000 new patients battling the Covid-19 illness caused by the virus, which sparked heightened concern around the world.