President Xi Jinping has ordered resolute efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that caused cases of pneumonia.
Instructing on the work related to the pneumonia situation, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed putting people’s safety and health as the top priority.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, a total of 224 cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus had been reported in China. Of them, 217 had been confirmed and 7 remained suspected.
Overseas, one case has been confirmed in Japan, two in Thailand, and one in the Republic of Korea.
Xi ordered heightened attention and all-out prevention and control efforts.
The prevention and control work is crucial at the moment due to the large passenger flows during the Spring Festival holiday, Xi said.
The Party committees and governments at all levels must put people’s safety and health as the top priority and take effective measures to curb the spread of the virus, he said.
Xi ordered all-out efforts to treat patients, identify the causes of the virus infection and spread at an earlier date, strengthen monitoring and standardize treatment procedures.
Xi spoke of the need for the timely release of information and the deepening of international cooperation.
He also stressed the necessity of informing the public of relevant policies to safeguard social stability and ensure people have a peaceful and auspicious Chinese New Year festival.
Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, also instructed related government departments and localities to improve response plans and spare no effort in prevention and control in this regard.
He also demanded better communication and coordination with the World Health Organization, related countries, as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan to join efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
A State Council joint task force on Monday held a teleconference to make an overall arrangement for prevention and control of the virus outbreak. The National Health Commission has set up a leading group to cope with the situation and give guidance in local response efforts.
New China virus: Cases triple as infection spreads to Beijing and Shanghai
The number of people infected with a new virus in China tripled over the weekend, with the outbreak spreading from Wuhan to other major cities.
There are now more than 200 cases, mostly in Wuhan, though the respiratory illness has also been detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Three people have died. Japan, Thailand and South Korea have reported cases.
The new strain of coronavirus, which causes a type of pneumonia, can pass from person to person, China confirmed.
Respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan, who heads the health commission team investigating the virus, said 14 medical workers had caught it while treating patients, state media reported.
The sharp rise comes as millions of Chinese prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year holidays.
Although the outbreak is believed to have originated from a market, officials and scientists are yet to determine exactly how it has been spreading.
The outbreak has revived memories of the Sars virus – also a coronavirus – that killed 774 people in the early 2000s across dozens of countries, mostly in Asia. Analysis of the genetic code of the new virus shows it is more closely related to Sars than any other human coronavirus.
What we know about the virus
- 2019-nCoV, as it’s been labelled, is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans
- Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses, but only six (the new one would make it seven) are known to infect people
- Scientists believe an animal source is “the most likely primary source” but that some human-to-human transmission has occurred
- Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
- People are being advised to avoid “unprotected” contact with live animals, thoroughly cook meat and eggs, and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms