China warns of faster spread of Coronavirus as toll climbs to 80
27 January 2020
China on Sunday said the transmission ability of the novel Coronavirus is getting stronger as the number of new cases continued to grow and Beijing scrambled to contain the outbreak.
By Monday the death toll from the deadly outbreak of Coronavirus has jumped to 80 with hard-hit Hubei province reporting 24 new fatalities, while total confirmed cases nationwide rose to 2,744.
The national count of verified infections rose by 769, about half of them in Hubei, the National Health Commission said, adding that 461 of those infected were in a serious condition.
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy has stepped in to the rescue of the Indian students of China's Wuhan University, who have been stranded after transportation services were shut down in the province following Coronavirus outbreak. The Indian Embassy in Beijing on Sunday told the students that they are trying to arrange vehicles to take them out of Wuhan.
About 46 students of the Wuhan University in Hubei province of China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak, had been stranded for the past many days and had been calling out for help to get them back to their homes in India.
In China, the number of cases continued to surge and Shanghai, a megacity of more than 24 million people reported its first death from the virus.
“The spreading ability of the virus is getting stronger,” national health commission (NHC) minister Ma Xiaowei said Sunday, adding that the quickness with which the contagious infection is multiplying has put “extra pressure” on the ongoing efforts to contain it.
Wuhan also reported severe shortages of resources, including protective suits, and officials in Beijing has asked factories across the country to increase their production capacities.
Ma said the risks associated with the mutation of this previously unknown virus – from the same family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS – were not clear and “…because it is a new virus, there could be changes”.
He said in the coming days, “…the number of infections might continue to grow”.
He added that containment measures across China will be stepped up in the coming days.
China also on Sunday announced a ban on wildlife trade, until the outbreak is contained, over suspicion that the disease comes from a seafood and fish market in Wuhan that also sold wild animals.
Addressing a packed press conference in Beijing on Sunday, Ma said the incubation period for the Coronavirus can range from one to 14 days, and that the virus is infectious during the period incubation defined as the time between infection and the onset of symptoms.
This particular characteristic makes it different from the SARS, another Coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally between 2002 and 2003.
Speaking at the same press conference, the director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, the virus had shown little change since its discovery, adding that scientists will need more time to detect minute alterations if they occur.
The virus has already spread to a dozen other countries with Canada confirming its first case on Saturday after a patient in Ontario tested positive. The man is said to have travelled from China recently.
Besides Canada, the cases reported outside China were six in Hong Kong; five each in Thailand and Macao; four in Australia; three each in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and France; two each in Japan, the US and Vietnam.