World, Health, Asia - Pacific

Study suggests Chinese virus ‘outbreak may be worse’

Hong Kong University study claims estimated 1,343 cases of virus found in Wuhan, other cities

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 21.01.2020
Study suggests Chinese virus ‘outbreak may be worse’


The outbreak of fatal coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China seems to be spreading fast, suggested a study released on Tuesday.

According to the study conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, an estimated 1,343 had been infected between Jan. 1 and 20 in Wuhan city, capital of central China’s Hubei province.

The virus, the study says, spread to major cities including the capital Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen besides other smaller towns where it found 166 such cases.

So far, China has reported 6 deaths due to the virus while Japan, Thailand, South Korea have confirmed to have found cases of the same virus in their respective countries. Australia is also examining a person for the same virus.

Officials in China have confirmed 291 cases of the virus found on the mainland. A total of 270 were found in Hubei province, while 21 cases were confirmed in six other cities -- Beijing, Shanghai and four cities in southeastern Guangdong province.

The researchers used travel and other data to find out the likely spread of the virus.

Admitting gravity of the situation, the World Health Organization (WHO) will be meeting in Geneva on Wednesday to deliberate upon the issue.

“The Emergency Committee on the novel #coronavirus [2019-nCoV] will ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it,” a WHO statement said on Twitter.

The outbreak of the virus comes on the eve of China’s New Year celebrations slate for Jan. 25 when millions of people will return to their native towns to spend time with their families.

The provincial authorities in Wuhan have canceled the Lunar year celebrations.

According to state-run People’s Daily, tour groups have been banned from taking out groups from Wuhan.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to SARS. Some cause less-severe disease and some more severe. Some transmit easily from person to person, while others don’t.

The virus can cause severe illness in some patients and it does not transmit readily between people.

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