China has admitted its shortcomings in handling the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday (Feb. 3), the death toll from the new virus already exceeded that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in mainland China in 2002.

As of Monday, the coronavirus global death toll was already at 426, exceeding the 349 deaths from SARS over a nine-month period. The Hubei health authority reported that the 64 new deaths recorded in China’s Hubei province on Monday accounted for the raise in the total death toll.

Since the outbreak, Chinese authorities have been racing to build two new hospitals dedicated to treating coronavirus patients in China. The first of the two hospitals, a 1,000-bed facility, began receiving patients on Feb. 3, while the second hospital is set for completion later this week.

Chinese authorities have also been taking steps to bring in masks from Europe, Japan and the U.S., shut down businesses, curb international travel, and implement a strict lockdown in Wuhan and the rest of the Hubei province to prevent the disease from spreading.

Despite China’s efforts, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus a global health emergency, affecting at least 20 more countries around the world since it started in China.

On Feb. 3, China’s elite Politburo Standing Committee also urged the Chinese government to improve its national emergency management system, citing its shortcomings and difficulties in responding to the epidemic. “It is necessary to strengthen market supervision, resolutely ban and severely crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade,” said the committee.

It is believed that the coronavirus started in a highly popular market in Wuhan, China, where animals like rats, bats, snakes, dogs, and cats are sold for human consumption. The virus is believed to have jumped from these animals into humans, hence the outbreak.

Meanwhile, authorities confirmed 2,345 more cases of the coronavirus in China on Feb. 3, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 13,522. 10,990 of those patients are currently hospitalized in Hubei, 576 of which are in critical condition.

corona virus The novel coronavirus has already infected thousands in China. World Health Organization (WHO) / Facebook