The Wuhan coronavirus hit a bleak milestone yet again as the official death toll in China topped 1,000 on Monday, Feb. 10. As of Sunday, the death toll from the new strain of virus already surpassed the toll from the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002, which killed 774 globally.

According to the Hubei health authority, 103 more deaths were recorded in Hubei province on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths in mainland China to 1,011. At least 2,097 more cases of the virus were also confirmed in Hubei on Feb. 11, raising the total number of cases in the region to 31,728.

Since the virus was discovered in January, 1,013 people have already died from the disease. Aside from the 1,011 deaths recorded in mainland China, two other deaths were also recorded in Hong Kong and in the Philippines. The global number of confirmed cases also now exceeds 42,500, majority of which remain in the coronavirus ground zero, Wuhan, China. 25,000 patients are currently hospitalized in Hubei, with 1,298 in critical condition.

New coronavirus cases were also confirmed on the Diamond Princess ship currently docked in Japan. On Monday, 65 more passengers tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of coronavirus patients on board to 135.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship turned into a floating quarantine zone as it was put on quarantine soon after its return on Feb. 3. The government quickly enforced a lockdown on the ship after a passenger who had disembarked in Hong Kong was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. Since then, dozens of passengers have already tested positive for the disease.

Meanwhile, a team of 10-15 experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in China on Monday to help investigate the novel coronavirus outbreak. The WHO team will team up with their Chinese counterparts in determining the transmission of the virus and coming up with a containment strategy to prevent the virus from spreading to more countries.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebrevesus particularly expressed concern over incidents of person-to-person spread of the virus by people with no history of travel to China at all. “In recent days, we have seen some concerning instances of onward transmission from people with no travel history to China, like the cases reported in France yesterday and the United Kingdom today,” he said.

On Monday, Ghebrevesus also tweeted that while the spread of the coronavirus outside China appears to be slow now, it could still accelerate in the coming days. “The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he wrote.

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

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