UPDATE: January 28, the death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 106. Hong Kong is ceasing cross-border travel with the mainland.
As of January 26, the Wuhan coronavirus has killed 81 people and has infected 2,744 people on mainland China.
Most deaths involve elderly people or those with pre-existing respiratory problems. China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reports that 461 people have severe cases of the virus and there are 5,794 suspected cases in mainland China.
Chinese officials now say that people can spread the virus even before symptoms show. This means that the virus can spread from people who are unaware that they were ill – something which was not the case with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus or with Ebola virus disease (EVD), according to BBC analyst James Gallagher. This also suggests that the virus would be difficult to contain due to its more powerful spreadability.
Confirmed cases abroad
The number of confirmed cases outside of China have also increased to 55. Below is a breakdown of the deadly virus’s spread in other countries: Australia (4) France (3), Hong Kong (8), Japan (4), Macao (5), Malaysia (4), Nepal (1), Singapore (4), South Korea (3), Taiwan (4), Thailand (8), United States (5) and Vietnam (2).
A new case of coronavirus was confirmed in Arizona on January 26, bringing the total to five cases in the United States. The other confirmed cases were reported in Washington State, Orange County, California and Los Angeles County. All the patients had reportedly previously traveled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Measures taken by China
On January 26, the Chinese government announced it has imposed a temporary wild animal trade ban after the outbreak was found linked to the selling of wild animals in Wuhan. According to a statement by state media, no wildlife can be transported or sold at any markets or online.
The suspected source of the virus is a famous food market in downtown Wuhan, which is known to trade carcasses and live specimens of dozens of wild animals – from bamboo rats to ostriches, baby crocodiles and hedgehogs.
In an effort to contain the coronavirus epidemic, Chinese authorities have also ordered the extension of the Spring Festival holidays to now end on February 2. This is in the hope “to reduce population flows.”
Beijing Ditan Hospital, Beijing You’an Hospital and 5th Medical Center of PLA General Hospital are the three hospitals that have begun using anti-HIV drugs, Lopinavir and Ritonavir, for treatment.