Coronavirus: WHO warns ‘net has widened’ as faster diagnosis method rolled out
Medics in Hubei, the virus-ridden Chinese province, this week starting using a quicker way to confirm cases of the infection. Previously, a nucleic acid test was needed to determine if a patient had caught coronavirus, a process which can last days. But over the past few days CT scans have been used to bring about quicker confirmation.
On Wednesday some 242 deaths occurred in Hubei - the deadliest day of the outbreak so far.
The WHO has said that the employment of the new testing method “widens the net” when it comes to understanding the mysterious sickness.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the alternative way of confirming cases had resulted in a “broader definition” of the virus, which has killed more than 1,350 people, mostly in China.
He added: “It is our current understanding that the new case definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure.”
He said the Geneva-based United Nations health agency was seeking “further clarity” from China about recent updates to its case definition and reporting protocol for the coronavirus disease outbreak.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, a spokesman for the Shanghai Health Commission said the new way of diagnosing people has not been used outside of Hubei.
A total of 14,840 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Virologist Derek Gatherer of Lancaster University warned the actual number of cases could be up to 25 times higher.
He told Sky News: “The true number of cases in China is somewhere between 10 times and perhaps 25 times, in some estimates, the official case total.
“And the reason that we can make this estimation is because we know the number of exported cases from China and we also know the number of people that have travelled out of China.”
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Speaking to TRT World Now, he warned “perhaps we might have more cases in the UK than are currently on the official list”.
There are currently nine cases of coronavirus confirmed in Britain.
He added: “We think that we are not necessarily detecting everybody that has the virus and there may well be people that are in the community in many countries that have the virus and are undetected and the UK is no exception to that.
“So this is why the government is preparing for the possible reality that we will have ongoing transmission in the UK.
“However, it’s worth saying that at the moment that is not confirmed.
“We don’t know that that is the fact so… and people shouldn’t overreact to this announcement of a serious and imminent threat.
The new Communist Party chief of China’s Hubei province pledged to contain the outbreak in the region that has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus, the province’s official newspaper reported on Thursday.
Ying Yong, the former mayor of Shanghai who was appointed to the post earlier on Thursday, said the situation there remained very severe, according to a report published by the Hubei Daily.
Meanwhile Japan has y confirmed its first coronavirus death.
The country’s health minister Katsunobu Kato said the victim is an 80-year-old woman living in Kanagawa prefecture, which borders on Tokyo.
Health News International
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