China re­ports 17 new cases of mys­te­ri­ous SARS-like virus

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Bei­jing, China - China re­ported 17 new cases of the mys­te­ri­ous SARS-like virus on Sun­day, in­clud­ing three peo­ple in se­ri­ous con­di­tion, height­en­ing fears ahead of China’s Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day when hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple move around the coun­try.

The new coro­n­avirus strain has caused alarm be­cause of its con­nec­tion to Se­vere Acute Res­pi­ra­tory Syn­drome, which killed nearly 650 peo­ple across main­land China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Of the 17 new cases in the cen­tral city of Wuhan - be­lieved to be the epi­cen­tre of the out­break - three were de­scribed as ‘se­vere’, of which two pa­tients were too crit­i­cal to be moved, authoritie­s said.

Those in­fected range from 30 to 79 years old.

The virus has now in­fected 62 peo­ple in Wuhan, city authoritie­s said, with eight in a se­vere con­di­tion, 19 re­cov­ered and dis­charged from hos­pi­tal, and the rest in iso­la­tion re­ceiv­ing treat­ment.

Two peo­ple have died so far from the virus, in­clud­ing a 69 year old man on Wed­nes­day af­ter the dis­ease caused pul­monary tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and dam­aged mul­ti­ple or­gan func­tions.

Authoritie­s said they had be­gun ‘op­ti­mised’ test­ing of pneu­mo­nia cases across the city to iden­tify those in­fected, and would be­gin ‘de­tec­tion work... to­wards sus­pected cases in the city’ as a next step, as well as car­ry­ing out ‘sam­pling tests’.

Sci­en­tists with the MRC Cen­tre for Global In­fec­tious Dis­ease Anal­y­sis at Im­pe­rial Col­lege in Lon­don warned in a pa­per pub­lished Fri­day that the num­ber of cases in the city was likely to be closer to 1,700, much higher than the num­ber of­fi­cially iden­ti­fied.

Authoritie­s said on Sun­day that some of the cases had ‘no his­tory of con­tact’ with the seafood mar­ket be­lieved to be the cen­tre of the out­break.

No hu­man-to-hu­man trans­mis­sion has been con­firmed so far, but Wuhan’s health com­mis­sion has pre­vi­ously said the pos­si­bil­ity ‘can­not be ex­cluded’.

Three cases have also been re­ported over­seas - two in Thai­land and one in Ja­pan.

Though China has not yet re­ported cases out­side of Wuhan, dis­cus­sion about the coro­n­avirus spread­ing to other Chi­nese cities has swelled on so­cial me­dia.

On Sun­day evening there were over 400mn views of the hash­tag ‘Shang­hai pneu­mo­nia’ on Weibo, China’s Twit­ter-like so­cial me­dia site, while ‘Shen­zhen pneu­mo­nia’ gar­nered at least 340mn views.

Two peo­ple have died so far from the virus, in­clud­ing a 69 year old man last Wed­nes­day

(AFP)

Med­i­cal staff mem­bers carry a pa­tient into the Jiny­in­tan hos­pi­tal, where pa­tients in­fected by a mys­te­ri­ous SARS-like virus are be­ing treated, in Wuhan in China’s cen­tral Hubei prov­ince on Satur­day

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