China's nCoV total tops 900 as outbreak expands to France

Map of France
Map of France

Manakin / iStock

China today reported a surge in newly confirmed novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases, pushing the outbreak total past 900 and nearly doubling the number of severely ill people.

Ten more Wuhan-linked cases were reported in other countries, including one in France that marks the first incursion of the outbreak into Europe.

In another key development, the World Health Organization (WHO) today said one of the two cases reported in Vietnam yesterday involved a family member of a confirmed case who had traveled to Wuhan. The finding suggests that human-to-human transmission has occurred in Vietnam, the first known instance of onward spread to someone outside of China who hadn't been in Wuhan.

Meanwhile, five locations outside of the mainland—Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States—reported new cases, all apparently linked to Wuhan.

Severe illnesses plus clusters in Guangdong

In its latest report today, China's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) reported 259 new cases, boosting its outbreak total as of 4:00 pm yesterday to 830. It said 177 of the patients are severely ill, an increase of 82 from yesterday.

Eight more people died from their 2019-nCov infections, putting the fatality count at 25. Websites that continuously track cases as they are announced by provinces and cities put the total as of this afternoon as high as 923, with 26 of them fatal.

Four more Chinese provinces reported their first cases: Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang. So far, 29 of China's provinces have reported cases. However, most of the cases are in Hubei province, which is home to Wuhan. Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces, as well as the cities of Beijing and Chongqing, are the next hardest-hit locations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its daily situation update that over the past week, less than 15% of new cases reported visiting the Wuhan market linked to the outbreak, adding more evidence that 2019-nCov is spreading among humans and across generations. It said family clusters with no reported travel to Wuhan have been reported in Guangdong province.

About 25% of the cases reported by China are classified as serious, the WHO said, echoing new findings published today (see related CIDRAP News story).

More bold response steps in China

Lockdowns have now been ordered for 10 cities, affecting 30 million people, CNN reported today. All are in Hubei province. The latest cities added to the travel restrictions are Yichang, Xianning, Huangshi, Qianjiang, Zhijiang, and Xianning.

The rapidly escalating outbreak is putting pressure on Wuhan hospitals, and Wuhan officials announced that it will build a prefabricated 1,000-bed mobile hospital to be completed within 6 days to help handle the load, Beijing News, a state news outlet, reported yesterday. The story said in 2003, a similar structure was built in 7 days to handle an onslaught of patients in Beijing during the SARS epidemic.

To help with staffing, China's military today announced that the country's armed forces have deployed medical workers to help with prevention and control efforts, Xinhua, China's state media, reported today.

Elsewhere in China, Shanghai's Disneyland today announced a temporary closure effective Jan 25 in response to the outbreak, the resort said in a press release, noting that it took the step to ensure the health and safety of guests. "We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation," it said.

Cases in France, more Wuhan-linked infections

A flurry of new 2019-nCoV cases were reported outside the mainland today, all apparently linked to Wuhan travel, including a pair of cases from France, the first European country to confirm 2019-nCoV illnesses.

France's health minister today said one case was identified in Bordeaux and the other near Paris, one a 48-year-old man who passed through Wuhan, and the other a person hospitalized in Paris who also traveled to China, the Associated Press (AP) reported today.

Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) today reported three more cases, all of them involving people who arrived from Wuhan by high-speed rail, one on Jan 19 and two—a married couple—on Jan 22.

The first patient, a 62-year-old woman, had visited a live-animal market in Wuhan but had not been exposed to wild animals. The couple, ages 62 and 63, had not visited any health facilities or markets and did not have any exposure to wild animals, poultry, or sick people. Their daughter in Hong Kong has since developed a fever and was isolated in the hospital. The CHP has now reported five 2019-nCoV cases.

Japan's health ministry today reported a second imported case, which involves a traveler from Wuhan who said he wore a mask while traveling. Two close contacts have been identified.

Nepal is among the countries reporting cases, the WHO's Western Pacific regional office (WPRO) said on Twitter today, though no details were available.

Singapore has reported two more case-patients, a 53-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan who arrived on Jan 21 and a 37-year-old man, also from Wuhan, who is the son of the country's first confirmed case, which was announced on Jan 23, according to a health ministry statement.

The South Korea CDC (KCDC) yesterday announced its second case, which involves a man who had been working in Wuhan who got sick on Jan 10 and visited a clinic on Jan 19, where his temperature was reported as normal. He flew back to Singapore on Jan 22, where his fever was detected by thermal scanner during entry screening. He said he had not visited the outbreak market, but did report that his Chinese colleagues were sick with cold symptoms.

And in other developments, the United States reported its second case, which also involved a traveler from Wuhan (see related CIDRAP News story).

So far at least 29 2019-nCov cases from 11 locations have been reported outside of China's mainland.

See also:

Jan 24 WHO situation report

 Jan 24 China CDC update

Chinese medical community (DXY) 2019-nCoV tracking website

Jan 23 Beijing News story

Jan 24 CNN report

Jan 24 Xinhua story

Jan 25 Shanghai Disney Resort press release

Jan 24 AP story

Jan 25 CHP statement

Jan 24 Japanese health ministry statement

Jan 24 WHO WPRO Tweet

Jan 24 Singapore health ministry statement

Jan 24 KCDC statement

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