See More on Facebook

Wuhan virus: 3rd death reported in China as cases soar past 200; new cases confirmed in Beijing, Shenzhen

There has been a dramatic increase of 136 cases of the mysterious Sars-like virus, including one death, in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Monday (Jan 20) as new cases were confirmed for the first time outside the city in Beijing and Shenzhen.


Written by

Updated: January 20, 2020

The Chinese city of Wuhan on Monday (Jan 20) reported a dramatic increase of 136 cases of the mysterious Sars-like virus, including one death, as new cases were confirmed for the first time outside the city in Beijing and Shenzhen.

The sharp spike in detected cases comes as travelling intensifies ahead of this weekend’s Chinese New Year holidays, sparking fears that the mass human movement could contribute to the spread of disease.

In a statement in the wee hours of Monday, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported that one death and 59 new infections were reported last Saturday and 77 new cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections in the city to 198. Three deaths have been reported so far.

This is the highest ever jump in cases since the authorities in the central Chinese city started near daily updates about the newly discovered coronavirus, which comes from the same family of viruses that causes Sars and Mers, and comes a day after public health officials warned of a potential rise in cases.

Meanwhile, two new cases were reported in the capital Beijing, and one in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.

The two patients in Beijing had travelled to Wuhan, said an early morning post on the official Twitter-like Weibo of the Daxing Municipal Health Commission, an area in southern Beijing home to the city’s sprawling new international airport.

The single case in Shenzhen is a 66-year-old man who visited Wuhan on Dec 29 and fell ill earlier this month after returning home, said the Health Commission of Guangdong Province in a statement.

Shenzhen officials said another eight people were under medical observation, AFP reported.

“Experts believe that the current epidemic situation is still preventable and controllable,” the Guangdong health commission said.

Five other people have been put in isolation and tested in eastern Zhejiang province.

In a series of tweets on Monday morning, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the infections, adding that an animal seems the mostly likely primary source of infections, “with some limited human-to-human transmission between close contacts”.

“For the first time, there are novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases reported outside of Wuhan, within China,” the WHO said. “These cases were identified because of searching and testing for cases outside Wuhan.”

The novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, has triggered alarm because of similarities with the one that sparked the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or Sars, 17 years ago. Unlike Sars, which killed almost 800 people, 2019-nCov is not known to have spread to health workers.

The source and transmission routes of the 2019-nCov virus are still unknown, China’s National Health Commission said in a statement on Sunday.

Most of the cases in the city have been traced to a seafood wholesale market, which also sells live animals and exotic wildlife, but the fact that several patients had no connection to the site also suggests the virus has spread by other means.

A city of 11 million, Wuhan is a major transport hub and officials have carried out temperature screenings at the airport, railway stations, coach stations and piers since Jan 14. Passengers with fever were being registered, given masks and taken to medical facilities.

Deputy Mayor Chen Yanxin said that all those leaving Wuhan were also being screened from Sunday.

The Wuhan Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, believed to be the epicentre of the outbreak, has been closed for disinfection since Jan 1 but, in a bid to arrest the spread of the virus, the authorities have been cleaning up markets across the city.

Meanwhile, South Korea on Monday reported its first confirmed case of the Wuhan virus. The patient is a 35-year-old Chinese woman who flew from Wuhan to Incheon international airport on Sunday. She was isolated upon entry into the country due to symptoms such as high fever.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases overseas to four – Thailand reported two cases while Japan had one case, all of whom had visited Wuhan.

The authorities in Hong Kong, the United States, Thailand and Singapore have been screening visitors from Wuhan. Six suspected cases have been detected in Singapore, five of whom have tested negative for the virus. The sixth case is still pending further tests.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Vietnamese students in South Korea on a knife-edge amid coronavirus epidemic

After being notified of a SARS-CoV-2 infected case at Ajou University Hospital in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, five minutes walk from her apartment, Phuong Duyen decided to rush back to Vietnam. “I did not have a plan,” the Vietnamese second-year student of Kyung Hee University told Viet Nam News on Tuesday as she was waiting to board at Incheon International Airport. “I just paid my tuition fee yesterday and had stocked up on food and other supplies online.” “Everything changed after the patient was reported near my area,” she said. “My mother urged me to come home as soon as possible. I also read some articles saying the healthcare hotline was overloaded. Considering the current situation in South Korea, I


By Viet Nam News
February 28, 2020

10 dead in Delhi in violent protests against controversial citizenship law, in the midst of Trump’s visit

Witnesses said Delhi police, who were outnumbered, did little to stop the violence, mostly standing by while groups pelted each other with stones, and vandalised vehicles and property. At least 10 people, including a cop, have been killed in India’s capital city Delhi since Monday (Feb 24), in a worrying outbreak of communal violence between those protesting a controversial citizenship law and groups who oppose them. The violence, marked by arson and stone pelting, continued on Tuesday less than 20km from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump were holding talks. Even journalists reporting on the spot were attacked and forced to delete pictures and footage. More than 100 people have been injured, accordin


By The Straits Times
February 27, 2020

Malaysia political turmoil: Search for new government continues as King meets 132 MPs in second day of interviews

The unprecedented move for the King to interview MPs individually instead of meeting party leaders appears to be in line with Dr Mahathir’s plan to form a grand coalition across the political spectrum. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong continues the search for Malaysia’s new government on Wednesday (Feb 26) by interviewing 132 MPs to see whether they back interim premier Mahathir Mohamad to continue leading the country. This will complete interviews of all 222 parliamentarians after those from the opposition were asked on Tuesday who they wanted as prime minister, or if they preferred a snap election. Those heading to the palace on Wednesday are from the now collapsed Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. The Straits Times understands that those still in


By The Straits Times
February 26, 2020

Mahathir made caretaker PM after Malaysia’s King accepts his resignation

After his resignation, the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition saw the departure of dozens of lawmakers that left it short of a majority in Parliament. Just hours after submitting his resignation to Malaysia’s King on Monday (Feb 24), Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was made caretaker Prime Minister. The King accepted Tun Dr Mahathir’s resignation, but appointed him interim Prime Minister, Chief Secretary to the government Mohd Zuki Ali said in a statement. Dr Mahathir will continue to run the country’s administration until a new prime minister and Cabinet are appointed, he added. All ministerial appointments were also cancelled with effect from Monday as a result of the prime minister’s resignation, the chief secretary said in a separate state


By The Straits Times
February 25, 2020

Vietnamese advised to avoid travel to coronavirus-hit areas in South Korea, flights not banned yet

The Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea has recommended Vietnamese citizens to avoid travel to areas affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and places vulnerable to the disease. The warning was made given the complex development of the COVID-19 in the RoK. Vietnamese citizens were also advised to keep a close watch and follow instructions of local agencies to prevent the illness. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK to work with local agencies to learn more about the situation, keep in touch with Vietnamese citizens in the country, establish a hotline and be ready to take protection measures when necessary. According to the embassy, as o


By Viet Nam News
February 24, 2020

Singdollar declines to near 3-year low on coronavirus fears

 Fall comes amid Asia-wide forex sell-off after South Korea infection spike, two deaths in Japan. The Singapore dollar fell along with most Asian currencies on concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The local currency fell to its lowest level against the United States dollar since May 2017 at one point yesterday, before recouping some of the losses. It slid about 1 per cent to as low as S$1.4083 to the greenback, before paring losses to trade 0.3 per cent lower. South Korea’s won sank more than 1 per cent to 1,201.95 to the dollar. The baht, the most sensitive in Asia to tourism, dropped 0.7 per cent to 31.406 to the dollar. The sell-off in the region’s foreign exchange (FX) markets followed a spike in confirmed infections in South


By The Straits Times
February 21, 2020