China’s coronavirus death toll climbs to 813 but new cases fall
Beijing, Feb 9: The death toll in China’s coronavirus outbreak jumped to 813 on Sunday, surpassing global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, even as Chinese officials said the cases of infection have started dropping for the first time after weeks of sharp rise.
With 91 more people dying, most in Hubei province, the novel coronavirus death toll is now higher than the 774 people killed worldwide by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic that started in southern China.
China’s National Health Commission in its daily report on Sunday said 2,656 new confirmed cases were reported, taking the total number of people infected with the deadly virus in 31 provincial-level regions in China to 37,287.
The commission said China’s new confirmed cases of coronavirus pneumonia outside Hubei Province, the ground zero of the epidemic, have been dropping for the five consecutive days.
A total of 509 new confirmed cases were reported on Saturday outside Hubei, about 42.8 percent lower than the number reported on Monday, Mi Feng, spokesperson of the NHC was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency on Sunday.
The numbers of new confirmed cases in these provinces during the past days were 890 (Monday), 731 (Tuesday), 707 (Wednesday), 696 (Thursday) and 558 (Friday).
“It shows that the joint prevention and control mechanism incorporating different regions in the country, as well as strict management, are taking effect,” Mi said.
As per the data released by the commission, the confirmed cases in Hubei showed a drop perhaps for the first time since the virulent virus emerged in the province in December.
On Saturday, Hubei reported 2,147 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection, the commission said. The figure is 694 less compared with the new confirmed cases reported in the previous day, it said.
Hubei’s capital Wuhan reported 1,379 new infections and 63 new deaths, and the cities of Xiaogan and Huanggang reported 123 and 100 new confirmed cases, respectively, according to the provincial health commission.
Hubei alone reported 27,100 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection, with 780 deaths and 5,247 cases in severe or critical condition.
Also, 1,439 patients have been discharged from the hospital after recovery, it said.
On Saturday, an American woman and a Japanese man became the first foreigners to have died from the new coronavirus in China.
The only fatalities outside the mainland have been a Chinese man in the Philippines and a 39-year-old man in Hong Kong.
Several countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights.
So far 316 cases have been reported from about 26 countries including India where three people in Kerala who returned from Wuhan contracted the virus. Japan has the highest number of 96 cases, followed by Singapore 40 and Thailand 32.