These are early symptoms of deadly China virus

Henrietta Brewer
February 15, 2020

Some 1,700 medical workers have been infected, with six dying from the COVID-19 illness, officials said, underscoring the country's struggle to contain the deepening health crisis.

The country's Health Commission said it received reports of 2,641 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 143 deaths on Friday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

The new figures for total infections gave no sign the outbreak was nearing a peak, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, an infectious diseases expert at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

"As of midnight on February 14 [16:00 GMT Thursday], the National Health Commission received information about 66,492 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus from 31 provinces [regions and municipalities], including 56,873 now ill people".

As of Friday, at least 48 cities and four provinces in China have issued official notices for lockdown policies, with measures ranging from "closed-off management", where residents of a community have to be registered before they are allowed in or out, to restrictions that shut down highways, railways and public transport systems.

While the World Health Organization has praised China's handling of the epidemic - in contrast to its cover-up of the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 - a top White House official on Thursday said Beijing should be more open.

Three mobile P3 laboratories were also dispatched to the epicentre for epidemic control, Wang said.

"Through our efforts the epidemic is overall under control", he told the Reuters news agency. Meetings are held online, not in person.

Employees must wear masks all day and report their temperature twice a day as fever is one of the virus' main symptoms.

Egypt reported its first case of the coronavirus on Friday, becoming the first country in the African continent to confirm a case, and the second in the Middle East region, after the United Arab Emirates diagnosed its first cases late last month.

Outside mainland China, there have been almost 450 cases in some 24 countries and territories, and three deaths.

The virus is killing about 2% of those infected, but has spread faster than other respiratory viruses that emerged this century.

The holiday was extended this year to help contain the outbreak.

The mission, including global experts, will also look at how and when more than 1,700 health workers contracted the virus.

The Chinese carmakers' association said auto sales in China were likely to slide more than 10% in the first half of the year because of the epidemic.

Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said at a Saturday briefing that Chinese banks have provided more than 537 billion yuan ($76.9 billion) in credit support to industries such as retail, catering and tourism that have been most severely affected by the outbreak.

Cases have been recorded in countries including Britain, Japan and the US.

The biggest cluster of infections outside China has been on a cruise liner quarantined in a Japanese port, with 218 people on board infected and taken to hospital.

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