BEIJING (AP) - China’s virus death toll rose by 89 on Sunday to 811, passing the number of fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, but fewer new cases were reported in a possible sign its spread might be slowing as other nations stepped up efforts to block the disease.
Also Sunday, South Korea reported a new case in a 73-year-old woman whose relatives visited Guangdong province in southern China. That raised South Korea’s total to 25. In China, some 2,656 new virus cases were reported in the 24 hours ending at midnight Saturday, most of them in the central province of Hubei, where the first patients fell sick in December. That was down by about 20% from the 3,399 new cases reported in the previous 24-hour period. Outside China and Hong Kong, 288 confirmed cases have been reported in 24 countries, according to the World Health Organization. Experts say the declining daily toll of new cases suggests the virus’s spread might be slowing. They say, however, the total will rise further once Chinese laboratories test a backlog of thousands of samples from possible cases.