BEIJING  -        The death toll from China’s virus epidemic neared 1,400 on Friday, as the United States complained of a “lack of transparency” from Beijing over its handling of a crisis that has fuelled global panic.

Chinese officials released figures for health workers infected with the new coronavirus, amid concerns about shortages of protective equipment. More than 1,300 people are now known to have died from the virus. The latest figures show122 new deaths in China, bringing the toll to 1,381. The total number of infections has jumped to 63,922 cases, according to the National Health Commission.

Six health workers died and 1,716 others were infected since the outbreak, according to Chinese officials.

The National Health Commission disclosed a statistical error, however, saying it removed 108 deaths in Hubei that had been double-counted, but the nationwide toll still rose to 1,380 on Friday. The deepening crisis in China has caused fears of more global contagion, with Vietnam locking down villages after finding new cases and Japan becoming the third place outside the mainland on Thursday to report a death.

More than two-dozen countries have now reported hundreds of cases among them. While the World Health Organization has praised China’s handling of the epidemic -- in contrast to its cover-up of the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 -- a top White House official on Thursday said Beijing should be more open.

“We are a little disappointed that we haven’t been invited in and we’re a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese,” Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, told reporters. Kudlow said President Xi Jinping had assured President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept US help, but “they won’t let us.” Kudlow’s comments contrasted with Trump’s apparent confidence in China, with the US leader telling a radio show that Xi is “extremely capable” and that the US was “working with them” and “sending a lot of people”.

The extent of the epidemic seemed to deepen on Thursday after authorities in central Hubei province, the epicentre of the crisis, started counting patients who were “clinically diagnosed” via lung imaging, in addition to those who undergo lab tests. The revision added nearly 15,000 patients to Hubei’s count in a single day, with officials explaining that past cases were included. The first cases emerged in December in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital. The WHO said the numbers included cases going back weeks.

On Friday, Hubei’s health commission said another 116 people had died and more than 4,800 new cases were reported. Of those cases, more than 3,000 were “clinically diagnosed”.

“It is better to clinically diagnose and admit patients... than leaving room for doubt,” Tong Zhaohui, vice president of Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, said Thursday in Hubei.

Authorities have placed some 56 million people in Hubei under quarantine since late last month, in an unprecedented effort to stop the new coronavirus from spreading. Some cities in Hubei tightened restrictions this week, sealing off neighbourhoods in what they liken to “war-time” measures. Under criticism at home over the handling of the crisis, China’s Communist Party sacked two top-ranking officials in Hubei, and replaced them with senior cadres with security backgrounds.

Several countries have banned arrivals from China, while major airlines have halted flights to and from the country. The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about the vulnerability of China’s northern neighbour, North Korea, and offered to support aid work in the country.