International desk, Feb 09: The number of new coronavirus deaths on the Chinese mainland hit 811 by end of Feb. 8, the National Health Commission said on Sunday morning, surpassing that of the SARS epidemic in 2002/2003.The new deaths on Saturday reached another daily record at 89, the data showed, pushing the total well over the 774 who died from SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
Of the coronavirus deaths, 81 were in China’s central Hubei province, where the virus has infected most people. New deaths in Hubei’s capital Wuhan, where the outbreak started, saw a rare decline.
New infection cases on Saturday recorded the first drop since Feb. 1, falling back below 3,000 to 2,656 cases. Of those, 2,147 cases were in Hubei province.
Joseph Eisenberg, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, said it was too early to say whether the epidemic was peaking due to the uncertainty in the number of cases.
“Even if reported cases might be peaking, we don’t know what is happening with unreported cases,” he said. “This is especially an issue in some of the more rural areas.”
The total of confirmed coronavirus cases in China stood at 37,198 cases, showed the commission data.
Two people have died from the virus outside mainland China – one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines – and at least 25 countries have confirmed cases.
Major airlines have suspended flights to and from China and several countries have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan and the wider Hubei province in a bid to stop the spread of the infection.
Singapore evacuating 174 on second flight from Wuhan
The city-state evacuated 92 Singaporeans from Wuhan on January 30, some of whom have since been confirmed as infected.
The returning passengers will undergo medical screening on arrival at Singapore’s Changi Airport, the foreign ministry said on Sunday. Those with fever or respiratory symptoms will be taken to designated hospitals for further examination, while the remaining passengers will be quarantined for 14 days.
The flight also took some Chinese nationals back to Wuhan, it added.
Source: News Agencies