Over the weekend, the number of people killed by the new coronavirus rose by 97 on Sunday, the highest number of casualties in a day. Dr Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who sounded the alarm about the virus also died over the weekend.
The total number of deaths in China now stands at 908 with the number of newly infected people per day slowly stabilising. Across mainland China, 40,171 people are infected while 187,518 are under medical observation.
Meanwhile, 60 more people have tested positive on a cruise ship quarantined in Japan – meaning 130 out of 3,700 passengers have caught the virus. The Diamond Princess ship is on a two-week quarantine off Yokohama, after a passenger – who earlier disembarked in Hong Kong – tested positive. The infected passengers have been taken off board and are receiving treatment in nearby hospitals.
The new cases mean around a third of all coronavirus patients outside of China were on the Diamond Princess.
New development of the coronavirus
According to data from the Chinese National Health Commission, 3,281 patients have been cured and discharged from hospital.
During the weekend, the number of coronavirus deaths overtook that of the Sars epidemic in 2003 which also originated in China and killed 774 people worldwide.
The WHO on Saturday said the number of new cases in China was “stabilising” – but warned it was too early to say if the virus had peaked. On Sunday evening, the organisation sent an international mission to help coordinate a response to the outbreak.
The new virus known as 2019-nCoV was first reported in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. The city of 11 million has been in lockdown for weeks. The outbreak was declared a global emergency by the WHO on 30 January.
Coronavirus has now spread to at least 27 other countries and territories, but so far there have only been two deaths outside of mainland China, in the Philippines and Hong Kong.
The director-general of the WHO on Sunday warned that the virus being transmitted by people who have not been to China could be the “tip of the iceberg”.
In a tweet, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “There’ve been some concerning instances of onward #2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to China. The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”