China confirms 5,974 virus cases, exceeding nation's SARS total

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 29 2020 08:33 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2020 10:07 AM

Chinese paramilitary officers wearing masks stand guard at an entrance of the closed Hankou Railway Station after the city was locked down following the outbreak of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 23, 2020. China Daily via Reuters

WUHAN, China (2nd UPDATE) — The number of confirmed cases in the new virus outbreak in China reached 5,974 on Wednesday, overtaking the number of people infected in the mainland by the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.

China's national health commission reported more than 1,400 confirmed new cases on Wednesday, as the death toll rose to 132.

There were 5,327 confirmed cases in mainland China during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic.

That outbreak killed more than 770 people globally, including 349 in mainland China.

Some experts have praised Beijing for being more reactive and open about the new virus compared to its handling of the SARS crisis.

But others say local officials had earlier been more focused on projecting stability than responding to the outbreak when it began to spread earlier this month.

Japan and the US evacuated nationals from hard-hit Wuhan city at the center of the outbreak on Wednesday.

© Agence France-Presse