China is facing another deadly epidemic of the virus that lead to the SARS panic in the early 2000s.
The new version of the coronavirus, a type of pathogen that causes a range of illness including the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has claimed its sixth life in the communist nation, CNN reported. China now has more than 300 confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday, and The Wall Street Journal reported that it has “spread quickly around the country and across Asia, infecting 156 new patients in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other densely-populated cities, and reaching South Korea for the first time—a major escalation in the pneumonia-like disease’s transmission.”
On Monday, China’s state-run media outlet Xinhua News Agency reported that China President Xi Jinping called on authorities to “release outbreak information in a timely manner and deepen international cooperation,” in order to stop the spread of the virus. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, said at a press briefing on Monday that the country has “formulated prevention and control plans, treated patients, monitored their close contacts, conducted epidemiological research and released information in a timely matter,” the Journal reported.
More from the Journal:
Beijing, Shanghai and the southern metropolis of Shenzhen—three of the country’s biggest and most prosperous cities—confirmed a total of 14 patients infected with the pneumonia-causing virus, all of them on Monday, according to state media and local authorities.
South Korean authorities, meantime, said Monday that a 35-year-old Chinese woman who had flown into the country from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak first occurred, had contracted the coronavirus.
Further, the epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan, has seen a massive jump in cases – from 62 on Sunday to 198 on Monday. Authorities in the region said 35 of the cases were severe and nine were critical.
On Tuesday, that number increased again by 77, CNN reported, and the country has confirmed that the virus can spread between humans.
“Tour agencies have been banned from taking groups out of Wuhan and the number of thermal monitors and screening areas in public spaces will be increased. Traffic police will also conduct spot checks on private vehicles coming in and out of the city to look for live poultry or wild animals, after the virus was linked to a seafood and live animal market, according to a report by state media outlet the People’s Daily, citing Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission,” the outlet reported.
CNN reported that many now fear it is too late to contain the virus. “Though infections were first detected in Wuhan in mid-December, infrared temperature screening areas were not installed in the city’s airports and stations until January 14, according to state media.”
Other provinces, including Zhejiang, Tianjin, and Shanghai have also reported an increase in cases as of Tuesday. More from CNN:
The death toll rose to six Tuesday evening, after the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission confirmed that a 66-year-old male and a 48-year-old female died on January 20.
It added that 60 new cases were confirmed by the end of Monday in Wuhan city, where a 15-year-old is the youngest to be infected.