The number of deaths globally in the new coronavirus outbreak passed 3,000 on Monday, as China reported 42 more deaths.
The new causalities were all in the virus epicentre Hubei province, the National Health Commission said, bringing the overall toll in mainland China to 2,912. Health officials also reported the lowest daily tally of fresh infections since late January, with 202 new cases.
In China, the number of reported new cases has gradually been declining and there were only six confirmed new infections outside Hubei.
The virus emerged late last year in Hubei in central China, but has now spread to more than 60 countries around the world.
The United States and Australia reported their first casualities over the weekend, while infections nearly doubled in the past 48 hours in Italy, Europe’s hardest-hit country.
The World Health Organisation said Sunday that the virus appears to particularly hit those over the age of 60 and people already weakened by other illness.
The agency noted that most people with the COVID-19 illness only experience mild symptoms, while around 14% suffer severe disease like pneumonia and five per cent become critically ill.
It said the mortality rate in the outbreak appears to be between two and five per cent.
The seasonal flu has an average mortality rate of about 0.1 per cent but is highly infectious, with up to 400,000 people worldwide dying from it each year.
Other strains of coronavirus, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), have established mortality rates of 9.5% and 34.5%, respectively.