China reports 440 confirmed cases of new coronavirus pneumonia

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Chinese health authorities announced Wednesday that 440 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had been reported in the country by the end of Tuesday.

The virus outbreak had resulted in nine deaths, said Li Bin, vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, at a press conference in Beijing Wednesday.

“As of 24:00 on Tuesday, our commission has received reports of 440 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus in 13 provinces, regions and cities across the country. Nine deaths and three new infection cases were reported in Hubei,” said Li.

Li also briefed the media on the new cases of infection reported on Tuesday and the number of confirmed cases overseas.

“Altogether 149 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia were reported on Tuesday. We have received Japan’s report of one confirmed case. Thailand and South Korea respectively reported three and one confirmed cases. We have traced 2 197 people who had close contacts with infected ones, of whom 765 have been discharged and 1 394 are still under medical observation,” added Li.

The media at the conference were also informed of the development of research on the virus and ways of its transmission.

“The cases of infection have been on the rise recently, possibly because we have better knowledge of the disease, improve diagnosis methods and timely distribute diagnostic reagents across the country. Experts suggests the cases of infection are mostly linked to Wuhan. There has been human-to-human transmission and some medical workers have been infected. Community-based transmission has also been found,” said Li.

According Li, China will take further steps to control the outbreak.

“The virus was being spread mainly through respiratory transmission and is likely to mutate, which will increase the risk of epidemic spreading. In addition, the Spring Festival travel rush that saw a mass migration of people, has objectively increased the risk of epidemic spreading and the difficulties in taking effective preventive and control measures. We should always be on high alert and never take it lightly,” said Li.