See More on Facebook

As coronavirus multiplies, there’s also good news

The total number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on the Chinese mainland is quite high, but there is no need to panic, experts said on Wednesday.


Written by

Updated: January 30, 2020

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on the Chinese mainland has exceeded the total number of SARS cases recorded during that outbreak 17 years ago. But there is no need to panic, experts said on Wednesday, even though more cases are expected over the next few days.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus reached 5,974 on Tuesday — an increase of 1,459 over the day before, including 132 deaths, since the outbreak was first reported late December, according to the National Health Commission on Wednesday.

In addition, the number of suspected cases rose to 9,239.

In Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, 840 new cases were reported on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases there to 3,554.

A suspected case was reported on Tuesday in the Tibet autonomous region, which, if confirmed, would mean that every province, autonomous region and municipality on the mainland has acquired the novel coronavirus.

Wednesday’s data mean the new virus has exceeded the spread of SARS in its first month. With SARS — severe acute respiratory syndrome — a total of 5,327 severe cases were reported on the Chinese mainland between the end of 2002 and Aug 16, 2003, including 349 deaths, according to what was then the Ministry of Health.

In addition, cases of infected foreigners on the mainland were first reported in South China’s Guangdong province.

Three foreigners — a Pakistani and two Australians, who all had been in Wuhan recently — have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Guangdong province as of Wednesday.

Guangzhou released on Wednesday a public letter and details of multilingual service hotlines for foreigners to get help. Wuhan and Tianjin also have provided foreigners with timely consultations and assistance on epidemic prevention and control by opening a 24-hour hotline service.

Zhong Nanshan, a prominent expert in respiratory diseases and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the recent novel coronavirus outbreak may hit its peak in a week or 10 days. The outbreak will not last as long as the SARS outbreak — more than five months — in part because of strong measures to contain the outbreak adopted by the central government, he said.

There are still no effective drugs to combat the virus, but researchers and medical staff have been working on several methods, and life-support technologies have improved greatly since SARS, so the death rate will be less, he told Xinhua News Agency.

So far, there has been no official statement about when the epidemic will peak or how long it will last. Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, said in an earlier interview with China Daily that the WHO is organizing a number of researchers to model the case numbers, but no conclusion has been reached yet.

Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that compared with SARS, which involved many critical cases, the recent coronavirus outbreak is less severe. People in a large number of confirmed cases showed mild symptoms, according to a report in Health Times on Wednesday.

However, the new virus is more difficult to control and prevent than SARS. It can jump between humans during incubation, which lasts up to 14 days, he said.

With the lockdown of Wuhan, Hubei province, the presumed source of the outbreak, the number of cases exported from the city will gradually be reduced, and the rise in cases in other parts of China will likewise slow, Zeng said.

Meanwhile, warming weather will also restrain the spread of respiratory diseases and contribute to control and prevention, he said.

The WHO said in a statement on Tuesday that studies so far indicate that most cases of the virus reported to date have been milder, with about 20 percent of all confirmed cases experiencing severe illness.

China’s National Health Commission will continue to collaborate with the WHO to contain the outbreak, including studying the severity and transmissibility of the virus, it said. In addition, China will share biological material with the WHO to contribute to the development of vaccines.

The WHO will also send international experts to visit China as soon as possible to work with domestic experts to increase understanding of the outbreak and guide global response efforts, it said.

The statement came after a meeting between President Xi Jinping and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, in Beijing on Tuesday.

“We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership and the transparency they have demonstrated, including sharing data and the genetic sequence of the virus,” the statement said. “The WHO will keep working side-by-side with China and all other countries to protect health and keep people safe.”

“Both the WHO and China noted that the number of cases being reported, including those outside China, is deeply concerning,” the statement said. “Better understanding of the transmissibility and severity of the virus is urgently required to guide other countries on appropriate response measures.”

Walter Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health who is known as a leading “virus hunter”, is headed to the epidemic-stricken area in China to assist with efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to Columbia Global Centers in Beijing on Tuesday.

Based on the evidence so far, Lipkin said on Tuesday in an article updated on Columbia University’s website that the novel coronavirus is not expected to spread to the same extent as SARS, which reached 33 countries.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


China Daily
About the Author: China Daily covers domestic and world news through nine print editions and digital media worldwide.

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

China pledges international pandemic aid

 Producers of medical goods urged to meet demand from affected countries. China has pledged to do its best to offer aid to countries and international organisations affected by COVID-19 to help contain the outbreak, and businesses are being urged to boost production of epidemic prevention materials to meet demand from abroad. The announcement was made at a meeting of the leading group of China’s coronavirus response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday. Relevant departments and local authorities must step up co-ordination to closely monitor and analyse the quick spread of the outbreak outside China and roll out more targeted measures to prevent the import and export of infection, the group said in a statement. It is important to further


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

Back to work in Beijing, with tough measures in place

 Mandatory quarantine for those coming from overseas; some Wuhan businesses may reopen. As most of China attempts to return to normalcy after an extensive lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the capital Beijing has been carefully trying to strike a balance between having people restart work while also trying to keep out imported infections, and yesterday ordered a mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals. This comes as the Hubei government announced that some businesses in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, would gradually be allowed to reopen. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, his first visit to the city since the outbreak, a sign that the crisis could finally be easing after the government’s toug


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

Xi vows victory over coronavirus in Wuhan

President expresses condolences to families of people who died in epidemic. President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak remains the top priority and most important task, even amid the recent positive signs. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark during his inspection tour in the outbreak’s epicentre, Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The spread of the novel coronavirus has been basically curbed in Hubei and Wuhan, Xi said, adding that initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan. Xi encouraged local residents and front-line worke


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

China sets example in fighting virus

Epidemic reveals inadequacies in global governance; Beijing says it’s ready to help. China’s response to novel coronavirus pneumonia has set an example for the world in coping with the contagion and offered experience in advancing global public health governance, officials and experts said. The COVID-19 outbreak has also raised the alarm about global public health security and reminded countries that co-operation and co-ordination are needed to deal with challenges as infectious diseases can rapidly escalate into global emergencies, they said. There is a growing positive momentum in epidemic control nationwide thanks to the “comprehensive, thorough and rigorous” measures that China has taken to contain the virus, they said, noting that the daily


By China Daily
March 10, 2020

More than 800,000 people return Beijing under quarantine

“There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. About 827,000 people who came back to Beijing from outside the city are still in a 14-day quarantine to see if they had been infected with the novel coronavirus, an official said on Friday. “There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. Z


By China Daily
March 9, 2020

South Korea declares third city as special care zone as cases spike

President Moon receives letter of support from North Korean leader as infected cases cross 6,000. South Korea has declared a third city a “special care zone” to boost its capability to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, with cases nationwide soaring beyond 6,000. The death toll stands at 42, mostly the elderly with underlying health conditions, while 88 people have recovered, including 47 discharged yesterday. The care zone announcement came as the presidential Blue House revealed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a letter on Wednesday from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressing support and comfort to the people battling the coronavirus outbreak, adding that he is confident they will “prevail in this fight wit


By The Straits Times
March 6, 2020