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BEIJING — The death toll from the novel coronavirus passed 2,000 on Wednesday, marking a grim milestone in the battle to contain the deadly outbreak, as countries across Asia registered an uptick in confirmed cases.

More than 74,000 people have now been infected by the virus in mainland China, with more than 1,000 other cases detected in 28 countries and regions.

On Wednesday morning, China reported an additional 136 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths there to 2,004, and the global death toll to 2,010.

There are now six deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, outside mainland China. Hong Kong reported that a second person had died in the semi-autonomous territory on Wednesday, according to local health authorities. The victim is a 70-year-old man who was diagnosed on February 14.

Though the vast majority of deaths continue to be centered in China, the concern is growing over expanding outbreaks in Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 15 additional cases, bringing the total number to 46 — an increase of almost 50% in one day. Singapore has at least 81 cases and Japan has 68 cases and one death, not including the more than 500 cases aboard the virus-stricken cruise ship docked in the Japanese city of Yokohama.

Amid the sudden spike in numbers, Japan’s health ministry has issued guidelines for people experiencing symptoms similar to the coronavirus in an effort to prevent worried citizens from inundating hospitals by providing them with specific hotlines to call.

In China, promising signs have emerged of a potential leveling off in the rate of infection. Outside of Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the outbreak, the number of new cases dropped for the 15th consecutive day, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday that China’s measures to prevent and control the epidemic “are achieving visible progress,” according to state news Xinhua.

Xi said, “the battle has reached a crucial time” and China had “mobilized the entire country, and adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures,” Xinhua reported.

Story by: CNN