The death toll from the novel coronavirus surged past 810 on the Chinese mainland by end of February 8, overtaking global fatalities in the 2002/2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, even as the World Health Organization said the outbreak appeared to be "stabilising".

With 89 more people dying (most in Hubei), the province at the centre of the outbreak -- the toll is now higher than the 774 killed worldwide by SARS nearly two decades ago, according to data showed by the national health authorities.

The total of confirmed coronavirus cases in China stood at 37,198 cases.Reuters

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.

37,200 people infected in China

Almost 37,200 people in China have now been infected by the new coronavirus, believed to have emerged late last year in a market that sold wild animals in Hubei's capital Wuhan, before spreading across the nation and to other countries.

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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.


The head of the World Health Organization said he is confident in China's ability to contain a new coronavirus and he called for calm, saying he did not think foreigners should be evacuated, Chinese media reported.

Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Hubei province, where the virus apparently jumped from an animal in a market illegally selling wildlife, has been all but put under quarantine, with a lockdown on almost all transport.

(With Reuters inputs)