PETALING JAYA: The number of people infected by the new coronavirus is nearing 8,000 and set to overtake the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak more than a decade ago, figures show.
An online dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University's Centre for Systems Science and Engineering shows a total of 7,783 cases of the coronavirus 2019-nCoV as at 12.45pm Thursday (Jan 30).
From the total, 7,695 are in China, with Malaysia recording seven cases so far.
The online dashboard collects real-time data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), and the Chinese website DXY, which aggregates data from China's National Health Commission and the CCDC.
The figures show that the Wuhan virus has spread rapidly over the past 10 days.
The total number of cases was at 4,593 on Wednesday (Jan 29), but it is not known exactly when the figures will overtake the total number of cases recorded during the 2003 SARS outbreak, which recorded a total of 8,096 cases.
The Wuhan virus and SARS both belong to the coronavirus family of viruses.
The WHO was first alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China on Dec 31, 2019.
A week later, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a new virus, which was temporarily named “2019-nCoV”, the WHO reported.
Despite its rapid spread, the number of deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus is still much lower, at 170 at present compared with 774 during the 2003 SARS outbreak that lasted eight months.