rise in China with the first case being reported in Shanghai as experts have confirmed that the virus can be spread from human-to-human.he number of those infected by a mysterious new strain of pneumonia-causing coronavirus continues to
China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Monday night that 217 cases of the virus have been identified in the country with seven more suspected. The majority of these cases have been discovered in the central city of Wuhan where the pneumonia outbreak occurred last month.
In total, 198 cases have been confirmed in Wuhan. So far, three people have died as a result of the virus with the first death occurring last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, an additional 14 cases have been reported in Guangzhou and five in Beijing. Japan, Thailand, and South Korea have also reported infections, all originating from travelers arriving from Wuhan.
On Monday night, health authorities in Shanghai confirmed that a 56-year-old woman at a local hospital was found to have the virus. She arrived in Shanghai from Wuhan on January 12 before going to the hospital for treatment on January 15 after showing symptoms of fever and fatigue.
As the number of infected continues to rise, Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert leading China’s National Health Commission, confirmed to CCTV News that the coronavirus can be spread through human-to-human contact, revealing that 14 medical workers have become infected.
This revelation comes just as the world’s largest human migration is about to kick into full gear with hundreds of millions of people in China traveling home to spend the Chinese New Year with their families.
Wuhan is one of the countries largest transport hubs. Infrared thermometers have been installed at airports, train stations, and bus stations across the city. The local government is now requiring that anyone leaving the city have their temperature checked. Those with a high temperature may not be allowed to leave.
Of course, this all comes weeks after the outbreak first occurred. Previously, there had been no such restrictions on leaving the city as the government tried to calm any possible panic.
The city certainly seems to be in panic mode now. One foreign resident tweets that students are going door-to-door to give out health advisories to residents.
Wuhan is really going into panic mode.
Student are going door to door to ask if we've been suffering from a fever and inform us to always wear masks, wash hands and "If we need to go to a hospital, to avoid going to Hankou"
— Jan Renders (@JWARenders) January 20, 2020
Meanwhile, a viral video shared on Chinese social media shows medical staff carrying out temperature checks on a flight from Wuhan to Macao.
Video circulating on social media today of temperature checks on a #Wuhan to Macao flight – as authorities step up efforts to contain the #coronavirus in China. More than 200 cases so far, mainly in Wuhan, but also BJ, SH, SZ, plus a few Wuhan travellers to 🇰🇷 🇯🇵 🇹🇭 pic.twitter.com/hgDdhdiDcT
— Bill Birtles (@billbirtles) January 20, 2020
The whole situation can’t help but call to mind another coronavirus outbreak — the 2002/2003 SARS epidemic that killed at least 774 in southern China. The response to that catastrophic outbreak was hindered by an attempted government cover-up.
Already, experts have accused China of grossly underestimating the number of people infected by this new virus, projecting that there may well be more than 1,700 infections in Wuhan.
Despite growing fears, Chinese officials have insisted that the situation is under control. President Xi Jinping issued a proclamation on Monday, ordering that “resolute efforts” by carried out to curb the spread of the virus including “heightened attention and all-out prevention and control efforts.”