The death toll from China’s coronavirus outbreak on Saturday soared to 722.
With 86 more people dying in mainland China, the toll was closing in on the 774 killed worldwide during the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, reports BBC.
A 60-year-old US citizen diagnosed with the virus died on Thursday in Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the health emergency, according to the US embassy, which did not provide more details about the person.
A Japanese man in his 60s with a suspected coronavirus infection also died in hospital in Wuhan, the Japanese foreign ministry said, adding that it was “difficult” to confirm if he had the illness.
The only fatalities outside the mainland were a Chinese man in the Philippines and a 39-year-old man in Hong Kong.
Nearly 35,000 people have been infected by the new strain, which is believed to have emerged in a market selling wild animals in Wuhan last year before spreading across China.
The epidemic has prompted the government to lock down cities home to tens of millions of people, as anger mounts over its handling of the crisis, especially after a whistleblowing doctor fell victim to the virus.