Worse than SARS: Official coronavirus death toll rises to 811_1


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.

However, the number of new cases reported over the last 24 hours on Sunday fell significantly from the previous period, something experts see as a sign the spread of the virus may be slowing.

Another 89 deaths were reported, while 2,656 new cases were added for a total of 37,198. On Saturday, 3,399 cases were reported for the previous 24 hours.

SARS is widely considered to have 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 stricter measures to contain the spread.


The 34-year-old ophthalmologist died overnight at Wuhan Central Hospital, where he worked and likely contracted the virus while treating patients in the early days of the outbreak.

Police in December had reprimanded eight doctors including Li for warning friends on social media about the emerging threat. China's supreme court later criticised the police, but the ruling Communist Party has tightened its grip on information about the outbreak.

Users of China's Weibo microblogging service have left hundreds of thousands of messages mourning Li's death and criticising the authorities over their treatment of him and other whistleblowers.

Following the criticism, the government announced a team from Beijing would be sent to Wuhan to investigate "issues reported by the masses involving Dr. Li Wenliang."

-AAP