Rise in new coronavirus cases in China reflects 'broader definition' of infection

Grant Boone
February 13, 2020

Central China's Hubei Province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreak, began to include the number of clinically diagnosed cases in its daily update for the first time on Thursday.

The appointments follow the sacking earlier this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission. "It makes sense, to test only those require hospitalization and not just every suspected patient", said Dr Abdul Gaffur, infectious diseases expert, Apollo Hospital, Chennai. China fired more than 100 officials, including the health minister and the mayor of Beijing, after allegations that local governments suppressed information about a similar outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, in 2003.

Many countries have implemented travel restrictions on recent visitors to China, which has more than 99 per cent of the world's reported infections.

The city of 11 million people remains under virtual lockdown as part of China's unprecedented measures to seal infected regions and limit transmission routes.

Critics say precious time was lost by the early inaction of the local government.

Xu Min, a resident of Shiyan's Zhangwan district, said her neighborhood entrance was being guarded by community workers and security staff.

"It doesn't have too much of an impact on our life, except that we're not allowed to go out", Xu said.

To get an idea of the significance of this, the figure for confirmed new cases for Wednesday was 2,015.

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A security guard stands outside a plastic tent set up to disinfect people coming in at the entrance of a residential compound, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China, on February 13, 2020.

Yin, the Trivium partner, said the revision could actually help counter skepticism about China's official data on the outbreak.

The team is here to "discuss specific arrangements for the China-WHO joint mission with the Chinese side", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily online briefing.

The online newspaper VN Express cited a senior official of Vinh Phuc province as reporting an increase in cases in Son Loi. Vietnam has confirmed 16 cases of the diseases, majority in Son Loi.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a combined news conference following a two-day worldwide conference on COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine research and a meeting to decide whether Ebola in DR Congo still constitutes health emergency of global concern on January 12, 2020 in Geneva.

With this, China has expanded its case definition, from what was stated by World Health Organization (WHO)- according to which, a confirmed case of Covid-19 is the one which has been tested positive in nucleic acid test conducted in laboratories, essentially involving assays based on real-time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction).

According to the ship's operator, Holland America, none of the 1,400 passengers and 800 crew members were infected with the virus.

In Cambodia, the cruise ship MS Westerdam was allowed to dock in the port town of Sihanoukville after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone on board may have the coronavirus.

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