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Deaths from coronavirus spike by 40% as experts say infected cases now at 44,000

28 January 2020

By The SUN

The intensive care unit at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan (AP Photo)

The death toll from the rapidly spreading coronavirus that started in the Chinese city of Wuhai topped 800 today, Jan. 27, a rise of more than 40% in just 24 hours.

The rate of infection is also climbing fast, with the Chinese government reporting more than 2,800 confirmed cases, a significant increase from the 2,000 cases reported the previous day.

But what is often not reported is the actual number of patients in Wuhan, the center of the epidemic which has been locked down for the past five days.
According to a report from the South China Morning Post, academics from the University of Hong Kong have estimated that the number of patients in Wuhan had already reached a staggering 43,590 by last Saturday. 

Using mathematical extrapolations, the experts say the number of infected cases would double in 6.2 days.

That would make the novel coronavirus far more infectious than Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which afflicted more than 8,000 people across China, and killed about a tenth of them. Hong Kong was among those severely hit, with 299 deaths.
Mainland officials now say that unlike Sars, the Wuhan coronavirus which causes pneumonia, is infectious even during the incubation period, which could last about 14 days.

The Hong Kong experts warned a pandemic might be close because human-to-human transmission is already happening in major mainland cities.

So far, all the confirmed cases both in China and other parts of the world involve patients who had been to Wuhan.

Hong Kong has eight confirmed cases of infection.

As of midnight last night, the city has banned the entry of all Hubei residents and those who had visited the Chinese province in the past 14 days. Returning local residents are exempted.

Macau, which has 7 confirmed cases,  has adopted a firmer stance, announcing that about 1,100 Hubei visitors in the city would have to return to the mainland or be quarantined.

Several countries, including the United StatesAustralia and Russia, are planning to evacuate their nationals from Wuhan where everyone is virtually quarantined because of the lockdown.

But the Philippines, which has an estimated 200,000 nationals working in China, both legally and illegally, has no plans for a mass evacuation.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo also said in a radio interview that the government cannot force Filipinos working there to leave their jobs.

“If they feel that they are safe, hindi mo mapapaalis yun doon, kasi livelihood nila yun,” he said.

The Philippine government has, however, asked more than 600 Chinese nationals from Wuhan who managed to fly into the Philippines just before the lockdown to return home as a precautionary measure.

Many of them had flown direct from the central Chinese city to Kalibo in Aklan, a major gateway to the famed Boracay island.

Some of the Wuhan tourists who were sent back to the Mainland by the Philippine govt (photo by Epoch Times)

Among the confirmed cases in Hong Kong is a visiting couple from Wuhan who had stayed with their daughter in Ma On Shan before falling ill  

The couple’s daughter and her Filipina domestic worker were both quarantined at the Lady MacLehose HolidayVillage in Sai Kung on Jan 25 as a result.

According to Consul General Raly Tejada, the Filipina has remained asymptomatic since.

“We are hoping she remains healthy and eventually released,” ConGen Tejada has said.

The Hong Kong Health Department reportedly told the Consulate that the worker will stay in quarantine, and no test will be done on her, although her body temperature will be monitored regularly.

“If nothing happens in 14 days, she may leave QC (quarantine camp). If she turns to have fever or other symptoms, she will be sent to hospital for hospital treatment,” said the message.

“Most importantly she is not a patient but just a confinee. We will send updates soonest if any.”
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