Wuhan Expects 1,000 More Coronavirus Cases: Mayor

Passengers line up to have body temperatures measured at a station in Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province, Jan. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Jianan)

WUHAN (Xinhua) — The novel coronavirus cases in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, is expected to rise by around 1,000 as more cases are being confirmed, Zhou Xianwang, mayor of Wuhan, said Sunday at a press conference.

As of 12:00 a.m. Sunday, a total of 618 cases have been confirmed in the city, with 40 recovered and 45 deaths, Zhou said.

A total of 533 cases are being treated in the hospital, with 87 in severe condition and 53 in critical condition, he added.

The city has around 2,000 suspected cases and 643 people under observation in fever wards.

“Previous experience shows that about 45 percent of these cases could become confirmed cases after tests,” Zhou said, as he explained the latest estimate.

The mayor also said there will be more recovering patients as nearly 80 are cured but still under observations in the hospital.

Eleven medical staff who had been infected have shown negative results in the latest novel coronavirus test, and can leave the hospital after another test and evaluations, according to a local hospital.

China’s Lunar New Year extended

Chinese authorities on Sunday announced plans to extend the Lunar New Year holiday originally set to end on Jan. 30 “to a proper extent” as a key measure to control the novel coronavirus outbreak. The holiday started on Jan. 24.

The decision was disclosed in a statement issued after the leading group of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak held a meeting Sunday to make work plans.

The meeting was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the group. Wang Huning, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy head of the group, attended the meeting.

A riverside boulevard in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, Jan. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiong Qi)

The meeting stressed that the country is at a crucial time in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, urging Party committees and governments at all levels to take more “decisive, powerful and orderly, scientific and well-planned” measures to effective curb the spread.

The meeting stressed the need to focus and strengthen prevention work in Hubei Province and Wuhan City. The following points were made.

— Send groups to Hubei to direct work on the ground.

— Coordinate resources across the country to prioritize supply of medical personnel and medical goods such as protective clothing and face masks which are badly needed for the prevention work in Hubei and Wuhan, as well as daily necessities for the general public.

— Open “green passages” to ensure smooth transport of the supplies.

— Speed up the building of hospitals designated to treat infected patients and transform some hotels into quarantine areas.

— Ensure timely diagnosis and treatment of patients with a fever.

— Step up staff rotation and protection of the medical personnel and take measures to relieve their physical and psychological stresses.

— Toughen restriction on the flows of people across rural areas, cities and regions.

On the work of other localities, the meeting made the following requirements.

— Leading groups must be set up and leading officials must stand at the frontline.

— Strengthen surveillance, strictly quarantine patients confirmed to have been infected, and apply isolation and examination measures on suspected cases and close contacts.

— Speed up designating hospitals, beds and quarantine areas for coronavirus outbreak prevention and control in cities that have relatively large numbers of cases.

Passengers line up to have body temperatures measured at a station in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan Province, Jan. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Jianan)

— Postpone and reduce meetings and mass gatherings.

— Strengthen virus prevention work in rural areas.

— Make arrangements for prevention work after the Lunar New Year holiday.

— Take measures to reduce population flows such as extending the Lunar New Year holiday, adjusting the starting dates of schools, supporting people to work from home by working online.

— Crack down on hoarding of the prevention work supplies.

The meeting also underlined strengthening the treatment of patients to minimize death rates, training more medical professionals, and pool resources to make an early breakthrough in vaccine research and development.

The meeting further demanded severe punishment for people who deliberately withhold information.