China reports first coronavirus death since May

China has reported its first death from the coronavirus in eight months.

The National Health Commission says 138 cases with symptoms and 78 cases without were confirmed in the country on Wednesday. One death was reported in Hebei, a province that neighbors Beijing.

It is the first reported coronavirus death in mainland China since May 16.

Since early this month, infections have been spreading in Hebei, mainly in the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.

About 600 infections have been confirmed in the city.

Local officials have told the city's 10 million residents to undergo PCR tests twice and to stay at home.

The northeastern province of Heilongjiang also confirmed 43 new cases on Wednesday.

The Chinese government is becoming increasingly wary of the spread of infection ahead of next month's Lunar New Year holidays, when a huge number of people are expected to travel.

It is repeatedly urging people to refrain from non-essential trips.