Death Toll In China Now Nine, About 450 Infected While Warning Emerging That The Virus Is Mutating
reported on Wednesday that more than 450 people infected across country, as US and Macao report first cases.
The current death toll from a new pneumonia
originating in China
rose to nine on Wednesday, with more than 450 people affected across the country. Meanwhile, newly confirmed cases in the U.S. and Macao underscored concerns over how the coronavirus
was spreading ahead of the heavily traveled Lunar New Year holiday.
China's Health Commission Vice Minister Li Bin attends a news conference on prevention and control
of new coronavirus related pneumonia in Beijing
Vice minister of China
's National Health Commission, Mr Li Bin, said at the first state-level news conference since the outbreak, said that the new virus
is mainly transmitted through respiratory contact, and evidence shows that the coronavirus
is also spreading among members of communities. The virus first emerged in the central city of Wuhan
and became public late last month.
Mr Li Bin told Thailand Medical
News reporters in Beijing
, "Most cases we have observed so far are related to Wuhan
... but the virus
might mutate, and there is risk for further spreading."
He also cited difficulties in the control and prevention of the pneumonia
during the annual Lunar New Year travel season. Wednesday's announcement marked a significant increase of 149 new cases and three additional deaths from the previous day.
Mr Li said the surge is mainly due to a speedier diagnosis process. In addition to previously reported cases in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, the coronavirus has now also reached the U.S. and Macao.
It also being reported that North Korea is temporarily placing a ban on foreign tourists due to the spread of the virus
To date it is still not clear how powerful the coronavirus
is compared to the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2002-2003, but experts say albeit with caution that early symptoms appear to be less severe than SARS
However experts from the US and Europe are saying that the virus
and becoming more virulent and say that the new virus
that finally emerges within the next few weeks is likely to be more potent that SARS
. Many are expecting that a pandemic
will soon follow.
Director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Mr Gao Fu said at the same news conference that the authorities are still in the process of "learning about the new virus&
lt;/strong>," and that it will take time to determine its lethalness.
However Mr Gao said there is no evidence that the so-called super virus spreader, which significantly accelerated the transmission of SARS and other respiratory illnesses, has emerged. He said the topic remains a key area for scholars and government officials to monitor.
The authorities in Wuhan municipal government has urged travelers to avoid visiting the city at the moment and advised local residents to stay where they are.
Doctors in China are commenting anonymously that the real situation in China is actually worst as authorities are controlling the dissemination of real information. Also because of initial lack of diagnostic kits, lack of protocols and also ways of infection and death reporting, the actual figures of those infected are actually running into thousands with death figures estimated to be about 15 times the actual figures.
Thailand Medical News reporters on ground in Beijing and Wuhan are reporting that thousands are being placed under quarantine in deplorable conditions. Thailand Medical News will be providing updates on the development of this viral pneumonia crisis around the clock.