Health Desk- 9 Feb, 2020: Mainland China's death toll from the new virus outbreak has risen to 811, surpassing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic, as authorities enforce ever-stricter measures to curb the further spread.
In a possibly hopeful sign, however, the number of new cases reported over the last 24 hours on Sunday fell significantly from the previous period. Another 89 deaths were reported, while 2,656 new cases were added for a total of 37,198. On Saturday, 3,399 cases were counted for the previous 24 hours.
More than 300 cases in some two dozen countries and two fatalities have been confirmed outside the mainland.
SARS had killed 774 people and sickened 8,098, mainly in mainland China and Hong Kong. The response this time has been much quicker and countries around the world are enforcing tougher measures to contain the disease. China has placed around 50 million people under quarantine, mainly in and around Wuhan, the hardest-hit central Chinese city where the virus was first detected in December among people who had visited a food market where live wild animals were sold.
Thus far, the new virus that is of the same family of coronavirus as SARS, has proven far less deadly, killing around 2-3% of those infected, Chinese authorities say. SARS killed 9.6% of those who caught it, according to the World Health Organization.
A 60-year-old U.S. citizen was among the new fatalities in Wuhan, apparently the first American death in the outbreak. A Japanese citizen being treated in Wuhan who was a suspected case also died.