The number of confirmed deaths from the deadly viral outbreak on the mainland has risen to 41, with authorities on Saturday reporting 15 new fatalities.

All of the new deaths took place in the provincial capital of Wuhan, the city of 11 million where the deadly respiratory contagion first emerged, the Hubei Health Commission said.

Meanwhile, the National Health Commission has reported the number of people infected with the new virus has risen to 1,287.

The commission said on Saturday the latest tally comes from 29 provinces and includes 237 patients in serious condition.

Wuhan and 13 other cities in the province have been locked down in an unprecedented quarantine effort aimed at containing the deadly respiratory contagion, which has spread nationwide and to several other countries.

The Hubei Health Commission reported 180 new cases overall in the province, 77 of them in Wuhan but the bulk of the rest spread out across the locked-down smaller cities.

Several of those cities were reporting their first cases of the pathogen – 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – the commission said.

The previously unknown virus has caused global concern because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across the mainland and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. (AFP)

Last updated: 2020-1-25 HKT 09:21