The death toll from the Novel Coronavirus jumped to 813 on Sunday overtaking global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, even as the World Health Organization said the outbreak appeared to be stabilising.
According to figures from the national health authorities, 89 more people died– most in Hubei, the province at the centre of the outbreak — the toll is now higher than the 774 killed worldwide by SARS nearly two decades ago.
The latest data came after the WHO said the last four days had seen some stabilising in Hubei but warned it was very early to make any predictions and the figures can still shoot up.
Almost 37,200 people in China have now been infected by the new coronavirus, believed to have emerged late last year in a market that sold wild animals in Hubei’s capital Wuhan, before spreading across the nation and to other countries.
Hong Kong has begun a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone arriving from mainland China. Visitors are being told to isolate themselves in hotel rooms or government-run centres, while residents are required to stay in their homes. Flouting the new rules will be punishable with a fine and a prison sentence. There have been 26 confirmed cases of the virus in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, the head of a World Health Organization-led international team investigating the coronavirus outbreak will leave for China next week. The team is likely to include experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. China had earlier agreed to allow WHO to form a team of experts to travel to China to learn about the virus and find solutions to the outbreak.