China virus death toll soars to 803: official

The number of deaths from China’s new coronavirus epidemic jumped to 803 on Sunday after hard-hit Hubei province reported 81 new fatalities.

The toll is now higher than the global number of deaths caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, which killed 774 people in 2002-2003.

In its daily update, Hubei’s health commission also confirmed another 2,147 new cases in the central province, where the outbreak emerged in December.

There are now more than 36,690 confirmed cases across China.

The new virus is believed to have emerged last year in a market that sells wild animals in Hubei’s capital Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, before spreading across the country.

The World Health Organization said Saturday that the number of cases being reported daily in China is “stabilising” — but cautioned that it was too early to say if the virus has peaked.

A 60-year-old US citizen diagnosed with the virus died on Thursday in Wuhan, according to the US embassy.

A Japanese man in his 60s with a suspected coronavirus infection also died in hospital in Wuhan, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

The only confirmed fatalities outside the mainland are a Chinese man in the Philippines and a 39-year-old man in Hong Kong.


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