Wednesday, 20 January, 2021

China reports 5090 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, 121 new deaths

China Messages WHO says 'way too early' to predict end of novel coronavirus
Gustavo Carr | 14 February, 2020, 16:10

Previous diagnostic methods were restricted to nucleic acid tests, which identify genetic information to detect viruses but can take days to process.

Several countries have banned arrivals from China, while major airlines have halted flights to and from the country.

"It is our current understanding that the new case definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure", World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters.

There hasn't been a "significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak" of COVID-19, global health officials said Thursday, even as China reported thousands more cases under new criteria that officials adopted, Japan reported its first death from the disease and the number of USA cases continued to climb.

Almost 64,000 people are now recorded as having fallen ill from the virus in China, with officials revealing that 1,716 health workers had been infected as of Tuesday.

Mike Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies program, said a spike of some 14,000 cases in China reported on Thursday was a result of authorities reclassifying a backlog of cases using patients' chest images, and not necessarily the "tip of an iceberg" of a wider epidemic.

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The deepening crisis in China has caused fears of more global contagion, with Vietnam locking down villages after finding new cases and Japan becoming the third place outside the mainland on Thursday to report a death.

"Clearly in Wuhan, the health system is under extreme pressure and so the first priority has to be the patient", said Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. The moves followed the dismissals this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission and reports from state media about a slew of others expelled from the party for missteps related to the epidemic. The coronavirus has also killed 1,368 people.

Japanese policymakers vowed to step up testing and containment efforts after the death and confirmation of new cases, including a doctor and a taxi driver.

"It is better to clinically diagnose and admit patients. than leaving room for doubt", Tong Zhaohui, vice president of Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, said Thursday in Hubei.

Authorities have placed some 56 million people in Hubei under quarantine since late last month, in an unprecedented effort to stop the new coronavirus from spreading.

Japan now has 252 confirmed cases, including 218 from a cruise ship that has been quarantined in Yokohama. Hong Kong and the Philippines have each reported one.