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Fourth death confirmed in Wuhan pneumonia cases, preventive and control measures intensified

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-01-21 11:10
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WUHAN -- A fourth patient with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection has been confirmed dead in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, according to a statement released by local health authorities early Tuesday.

The male patient surnamed Chen, 89, showed symptoms on Jan 13 and was hospitalized on Jan 18 due to severe dyspnea. He died at 11:39 pm on Jan 19. The patient had hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and frequent ventricular premature beats before being infected.

Fifteen medical workers in Wuhan have been diagnosed with pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, plus one suspected case. One of the 16 patients is in critical condition. All of them are being treated in isolation.

As of 12 midnight Jan. 19, 198 coronavirus infection cases had been reported in Wuhan, of which 25 had been cured and discharged from hospital. Currently, 169 patients are still being treated in hospital, including 44 in severe or critical conditions.

New cases were also reported in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong. Early Tuesday, Shanghai reported the second case of coronavirus-related pneumonia, local health authorities said, adding that four other suspected cases are under analysis.

[Jin Ding/China Daily]

Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory expert and head of a high-level expert team of China's National Health Commission, predicted an increase of viral pneumonia cases during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday. But he expressed confidence in curbing the virus spread, saying the SARS epidemic in 2003 will not be repeated.

"It took just two weeks to identify the novel coronavirus," Zhong said, noting that with well-rounded monitoring and quarantine systems, China will not suffer the social and economic impact as serious as 17 years ago.

The geographical distribution of Wuhan's infection cases indicated a close relationship between the epidemic and a local seafood market -- where trade of wild animals were allegedly spotted. Wuhan has intensified inspection, monitoring and disinfection of open fairs, prohibited sales of live poultry and all kinds of wild animals.

China will take preventive and control measures of category A infectious diseases to effectively fight against the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), according to the National Health Commission.

The pneumonia, resulted from infection of the novel coronavirus, has been classified as the category B infectious diseases and a quarantinable disease at the border, according to an announcement by the commission on Monday.

Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the expert team, said the outbreak of the new coronavirus can be reversed if measures are taken now.

He said the constant emergence of new cases at present indicated that the epidemic is still at its early stage.

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