Coronavirus death toll passes SARS

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has now surpassed the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003 after China on Sunday (February 9) announced a new daily record number of deaths.

Data from the National Health Commission showed 89 deaths on Saturday (February 8), pushing coronavirus deaths well above the 774 who died from SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

That grim milestone comes as millions of Chinese people prepared to return to work on Monday (February 10).

Authorities has extended a Lunar New Year break by ten days as deaths and infections rose and many of China's usually teeming cities have become ghost towns over the past two weeks.

Even on Monday, a large number of businesses will stay shut with many white collar employees working from home.

Among the new deaths on Saturday was an American hospitalized in the central city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.

He's the first confirmed non-Chinese victim of the disease - which has spread to 27 countries and regions, according to official reports.

There have been two deaths outside China, in Hong Kong and the Philippines, both Chinese nationals.

Among the latest patients outside China are five British nationals who were staying at the same ski village in the French Alps.

The five, including a child, were staying in the same chalet as a man believed to have contracted the virus in Singapore.

French officials said they are not in a serious condition.

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