Coronavirus toll surpasses SARS; WHO team rushes to Beijing amid 97 new deaths

With 97 new coronavirus fatalities on Sunday, the death toll has surpassed the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome [SARS] outbreak in 2002-03 when 813 people died. The number of cases in mainland China alone has crossed 40,000 with 40,171 cases reported since the outbreak.

The disease was officially named the "novel coronavirus pneumonia", by China's National Health Commission (NHC) on Saturday.

Coronavirus update: latest cases and death toll

Global Times

On Sunday, the death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus [2019-nCoV] outbreak reached 910, with 40,554 cases reported from around the world. Sunday proved to be the deadliest day, with 97 deaths reported in a single day - all in mainland China, the Global Times reported. As many as 3,062 new cases were reported, taking the total to 40,171 in mainland China.

While the novel coronavirus kills 2% of those infected, SARS, which was due to a different strain of coronavirus, had a higher mortality rate of 10%.

Out of 97 fatalities reported on Sunday, 91 took place in China's hard-hit Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus outbreak; 2,618 out of 3,062 new cases were reported from Hubei alone, the Global Times reported.

Global Times

WHO experts team heads towards Beijing

"I've just been at the airport seeing off members of an advance team for the WHO-led 2019-nCoV international expert mission to China, led by Dr Bruce Aylward, veteran of past public health emergencies," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted.

WHO chief

During his trip to Beijing last month he met Chinese President Xi Jinping when it was decided that WHO would send an international team to study the outbreak.

Dr. Aylward is WHO's Assistant Director-General, who led WHO's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014-2016). He joined WHO in 1992 and worked for eight years in the areas of immunization, communicable diseases control and polio eradication in the field and regional levels in the Middle East, Western Pacific, Europe, North Africa and Central and Southeast Asia.

This article was first published on February 10, 2020
Related topics : Coronavirus