NEW CORONAVIRUS IN CHINA – NUMBER OF DEATHS DOUBLE
LATEST UPDATE 22ND JANUARY 1600 HRS
Mainland China has 444 confirmed cases and 17 fatalities as of 2000 hrs (China time) Wednesday 22nd January, according to state broadcaster CCTV. On Tuesday the figure was given as 9.
Most of the cases are in Hubei province where Wuhan is located, with smaller numbers in other provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong. There had been 15 cases among medical professionals in Wuhan, with one in a critical condition.
Hong Kong reported two infections with positive results in initial tests, while Macau confirmed its first case on Wednesday. A five-year-old in the Philippine province of Cebu has been tested, while Australia has placed a man in isolation at his home in the city of Brisbane. Cases have been confirmed in USA, South Korea,
No deaths have been reported overseas.
The WHO is holding an emergency meeting today in Geneva to decide whether the outbreak should be declared an international public health emergency.
In Macau, the authorities announced that they will individually check passengers from Wuhan, “by air, sea or land”.
Chinese authorities have urged people to stop travelling in and out of Wuhan, the city at the centre of a new virus outbreak.
The virus, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. The Sars virus that killed nearly 800 people globally in the early 2000s was also a coronavirus.
The symptoms of these coronaviruses are more intense than the flu and include fever, pain, malaise and breathing difficulties. In the cases initially confirmed, 90% had fever, 80% dry cough, 20% shortness of breath and only about 15% had difficulty breathing.
What is the mortality rate of the new coronavirus?
According to currently available data, mortality from the new coronavirus stands at 1.5%, but health authorities warn that it is necessary to continue to monitor developments.
However, until now, 2019-nCoV is being considered less aggressive in its consequences, when compared to the atypical pneumonia of 2002/2003, which had a mortality rate around 10%.
The pulmonologist Filipe Froes recalls that all respiratory infections, including the flu, can cause death, especially in patients with other associated pathologies or more fragile and elderly people.