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China virus kills third, epidemic sweeps across country

2020-01-20T05:10:23.839Z

Contagion risks could increase with millions of trips for Chinese New Year festivities



A patient victim of the virus is brought to Jinyintan hospital on January 18, 2020. - AFP

The mysterious virus continues to strike. China reported a third death on Monday as the epidemic spread to the north and south of the country. Especially this new death comes at the approach of the Chinese New Year festivities, the busiest period of the year in transport, during which hundreds of millions of people travel by bus, train and plane to visit their families. . Despite the risk of spread, movement in China is not currently subject to any restrictions.

Cases in Beijing and Shenzhen

According to the authorities, the epidemic has so far been confined to Wuhan (center), an agglomeration of some 11 million inhabitants where the virus, of the same family as SARS, appeared last month. But for the first time, Chinese health officials on Monday reported new cases in other cities of the country: two in Beijing (north) and another in Shenzhen, the metropolis of the far south which faces Hong Kong. More than 200 people have now been infected across the country. What these new cases have in common is that all the infected people had gone to Wuhan in recent weeks.

Patients hospitalized in the capital are in stable condition and are being treated for pneumonia. Despite everything, the city's health authorities want to be reassuring: according to them, the risk of transmission of the virus between humans is considered "low", even if it is "not excluded". The focus of the epidemic appears to be a wholesale market in seafood and fish in Wuhan, where several infected patients worked. It has since been closed and decontamination operations have taken place.

Scientists doubt Chinese data

This weekend, scientists from a research center at Imperial College in London, which advises institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO), questioned official figures estimating that the number of contaminations was probably over a thousand as of January 12. To reach this conclusion, the researchers used the number of cases detected so far outside China (two in Thailand and one in Japan) to deduce the number of people likely infected in Wuhan, based on the data. international flights from Wuhan Airport.

The concern is now perceptible abroad, where prevention measures are multiplying. Since Friday, the United States has been filtering flights from Wuhan. Thailand, where two cases have been identified, has also tightened controls at its airports.

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Source: 20minf

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