Coronavirus infection rate overtakes SARS epidemic of 2003 (updated)

  • Nation
  • Friday, 31 Jan 2020

The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS

PETALING JAYA: The number of cases of the Wuhan coronavirus has risen to nearly 10,000, surpassing the total number of cases in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic in 2003.

The online dashboard operated by Johns Hopkins University's Centre for Systems Science and Engineering shows a total of 9,776 cases and 213 deaths of the coronavirus 2019-nCoV as at 11am (MYT) Friday (Jan 31).

The bulk of 9,658 cases are in China, with Malaysia recording eight cases so far. With SARS, there were 8,096 cases leading to 774 deaths.

The novel coronavirus outbreak was declared a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC) by World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday (Jan 30).

He cited concern over the spread of the coronavirus to countries with weaker health systems.

The announcement came after a second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee held.

“The declaration of the PHEIC should be seen in the spirit of support and appreciation for China, its people, and the actions China has taken on the frontlines of this outbreak, with transparency, and, it is to be hoped, with success, ” reported WHO in its statement.

The virus has spread to 19 countries, most recently to India and Philippines.

Outside of China, the countries with the most number of cases are, in order, Thailand (with 14 cases), Japan (11) and Singapore (10).

WHO believes it is still possible to interrupt the spread of the virus.

“Countries need to put in place strong measures to detect the disease early, isolate and treat cases, trace contacts, and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk, ” the UN agency said.

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