Coronavirus cases rise to 205, a case reported in South Korea


From 41 till a few days ago, the number of novel coronavirus cases has risen to 205. A woman travelling from China’s Wuhan city was found infected with coronavirus in South Korea. Cases within China have been reported from Beijing and Shenzhen.

Since January 17, a sudden spike in the number of new cases of coronavirus infection has been reported from China. As on January 20 (12 noon Indian time), there have been 205 confirmed cases, including three deaths.

Besides the already known cases of two people with coronavirus reported in Thailand and one in Japan, the World Health Organization tweeted today that South Korea has reported a case of coronavirus in a woman. In all the four cases, the infected persons had travelled from Wuhan in China, which is the hotspot of the current coronavirus outbreak.

While almost all cases have been reported from Wuhan, the WHO says coronavirus cases have now been seen in Beijing and Shenzhen during the last two days. Two cases have been reported from Beijing and one case from Shenzhen, BBC says . The WHO says that the cases outside Wuhan have been identified as authorities have been searching and testing for coronvirus cases out the city of Wuhan.

Human-to-human transmission

While one of infected person in Thailand had not visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the Japanese man infected with the virus had come in contact with a person with pneumonia but had not visited any market. The South Korean authorities report that the woman “did not visit markets in Wuhan or have contact with animals or other confirmed cases”. This confirms that the virus has already acquired the ability to spread from one human to another, though it is not known if there is sustained human-to-human spread.

The WHO maintains that an “animal source seems the most likely primary source of this novel coronavirus outbreak, with some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts”.

How the cases spiked

On January 16, four more cases were reported taking the total to 45. On January 19, Wuhan Health Commission reported that 17 new cases were laboratory confirmed on January 17 taking the total to 62. In a January 20 public release, the Wuhan Health authorities announced that 59 new cases were confirmed on January 18. And 77 new cases were seen the following day (January 19). raising the total number of people infected with the novel virus to 198 by January 19.

The authorities said that of the 198 cases reported, 25 have been cured and three cases have been discharged. Currently, 170 cases are still being treated in the hospital — 126 cases are mild, 35 are severe, and nine are critically ill.

The number of close contacts who are being monitored has increased from 763 to 817; monitoring is still under way for 90. Of the total 817 close contacts who have been tracked, no case of infection has been found among the close contacts.

More cases than what meets the eye

A report by London Imperial College’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis estimated that by January 12 there were 1,723 cases in Wuhan City with onset of related symptoms. “It is likely that the Wuhan outbreak of a novel coronavirus has caused substantially more cases of moderate or severe respiratory illness than currently reported,” the report noted.