Published on : Monday, January 20, 2020
China has reported 139 new cases of pneumonia caused by a new strain of coronavirus, including a third death, as the outbreak spreads beyond the city where the virus was first identified. The health authorities in Beijing has confirmed these two cases of the new coronavirus Monday, while Guangdong authorities reported one case in Shenzhen — the first confirmation from authorities that the mysterious virus has spread domestically beyond the central city of Wuhan. All three patients are believed to have visited Wuhan, according to authorities. The hotel operators and tourism organizations slumped following news that an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China was spreading to other busy cities, raising a huge concerns around its containment and clouding travel plans of millions of Chinese for Lunar New Year holidays.
The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced Monday that 136 new patients were diagnosed on Saturday and Sunday. Of those, one person died from the virus, two are in critical condition, and 33 are in serious condition, according to authorities.
The new cases have brought the total number of people in China diagnosed with the virus to 201, a significant jump from 62 reported on the weekend.
The local civic authorities have also begun to report suspected infections. On Monday morning, health authorities in Shenzhen, across the border of Hong Kong, said they are monitoring eight patients who have been quarantined for treatment. In coastal Zhejiang province, authorities reported five suspected cases who visited Wuhan.
The spread of the outbreak comes as the country gets ready for the Lunar New Year holiday later this week. On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that there was evidence of “limited human-to-human transmission” of the new virus raising fears of a wider regional outbreak. The holiday period typically sees hundreds of millions of Chinese travel throughout the country and overseas.
Last week, three cases were detected outside China — two in Thailand and one in Japan. All cases have been linked to Wuhan. On Monday, South Korea also confirmed its first case of the virus.
According to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 35-year-old Chinese woman was detected by temperature screening upon arriving Sunday at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport from Wuhan. She has been quarantined and is in a stable condition, the CDC said.
The woman, a Wuhan resident, had planned to go on holiday in South Korea and Japan with five others. She said she developed a fever and muscle pains on Saturday and was prescribed cold medicine by a doctor in Wuhan, according to the CDC.
Almost 7 million Chinese were estimated to have traveled overseas last year during the Lunar New Year holiday season. Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said that he believe Chinese tourists will bring the virus to many other countries in Asia in the coming days, due to their overseas travels during the Lunar New Year holidays.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market at the center of the pneumonia outbreak in the city of tWuhan has been closed for disinfection since January 1.
The pneumonia outbreak emerged last month in Wuhan, the largest city in central China and a major transportation hub. Officials in China have linked the viral infections to a Wuhan seafood and wildlife market, which has been closed since January 1 to prevent further spread of the illness.