Coronavirus: Worldwide cases overtake 2003 Sars outbreak

(BBC) – The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed that of the Sars epidemic, which spread to more than two dozen countries in 2003.

There were around 8,100 cases of Sars – severe acute respiratory syndrome – reported during the eight-month outbreak.

But nearly 10,000 cases of the new virus have been confirmed, most in China, since it emerged in December.

More than 100 cases have been reported outside China, in 22 countries.

The number of deaths so far stands at 213 – all in China. In total, 774 people were killed by Sars.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the new outbreak.

The UK on Friday confirmed its first two cases of the virus.

Estimates by the University of Hong Kong suggest the true total number of cases could be far higher than official figures suggest. Based on mathematical models of the outbreak, experts there say more than 75,000 people may have been infected in the Chinese city of Wuhan alone, where the virus originated.

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