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Coronavirus: Number of Cases Surpasses SARS, China Holds Thousands ‘Under Observation’


Chinese workers manufacture protective face masks, as stocks run low amid the outbreak of coronavirus2020 (PHOTO: EPA-EFE)

Zero Hedge

Summary:

  • Japan, Germany confirm human-to-human transmission
  • US, UK warn citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China
  • 6,049 cases confirmed; 131 deaths
  • President Xi said China is taking the “devil virus” very seriously and will contain it
  • Governors and mayors across US bracing for viral outbreaks
  • Reports that China has refused US offer of assistance, and that Beijing is withholding data from CDC
  • Thailand reports 6 new cases, bringing total number to 14

* * *

Update (1915ET): It’s only 8:15 am in Beijing and health officials have already confirmed more than 840 new cases in Hubei Province.

That brings the toll to  6,049, including 263 cases deemed “severe.” The death toll has climbed to 132, according to SCMP.

Those who have been closely comparing this outbreak with the 2003 SARS outbreak may notice that the coronavirus has achieved an important milestone. Barely a week into global response to the outbreak, the number of confirmed cases has already passed the number of SARS cases reported during the entire monthslong ordeal.

SARS infected 5,327 people in mainland China in nine months and killed 349 people, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Another 60k people are said to be under observation across China, with 20k in Hubei alone.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory diseases expert who spoke with the SCMP on Tuesday, said the outbreak hasn’t yet reached its peak, though he thinks the number of new cases will plateau within the next ten days.

Back in the US, the Trump Administration is denying reports that it’s considering a total ban on passenger travel between the US and China.

Will the fact that the coronavirus has already surpassed SARS – and is on track to achieve some of the more dire projections shared by epidemiologists – shake the market’s confidence?

Or will a few soothing words from Jerome Powell save the day?

* * *

Update (1824ET): Adding additional pressure to American airlines, CNBC just reported that the White House warned airline executives that it’s considering suspending all flights between China and the US.

This comes on the heels of United Airlines, the US carrier with the most exposure to China, which has about a dozen daily flights to Hong Kong and the mainland, said it was cancelling dozens of flights. The Chicago-based airline said it has experienced a “significant decline in demand for travel to China.”

Administration officials warned that this could impact flights into and out of China.

Several countries, including the US, have been expanding airport screenings for possible virus-carrying travelers. But a complete shutdown of passenger plane traffic would be even more draconian than Hong Kong’s strict border controls implemented Tuesday.

In a sign that the Communist Party may have overplayed its hand, more videos depicting violent clashes between Chinese citizens and police have surfaced on social media.

Update (1750ET): Reuters just reported that Thailand has confirmed another six cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 14. All six are under observation in a hospital. Five of the six are members of the same Chinese family who traveled from Hubei province to Thailand for the LNY holiday together.

No. 6 is also a Chinese tourist.

* * *

Update (1710ET): Minutes ago, as dawn nears in China, state-controlled TV station CCTV reported 25 new deaths in Hubei, and another 840 new confirmed cases (and this time only 315 were in Wuhan). Of the dead, 19 died in Wuhan, 2 in Xiaogan, and 1 each in Jingmen, Ezhou, Huanggang, and Tianmen.

Per CCTV, 3349 patients have been hospitalized in the province. More than 20,000 are still under medical observation.

When we look back on the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday might be the day people remember as the jumping off point for the pandemic as more than 1,000 new cases were confirmed today. And today, the death toll jumped above 100 for the first time, and possibly featured the first death from the virus outside China.

American officials confirmed that the first flight evacuating about 240 diplomats and other Americans from Wuhan took off without a hitch. There are still roughly 800 Americans in Wuhan, and more flights are expected – though some have elected to stay behind with family. Tuesday is also the day that officials confirmed, without a doubt, that the virus is spreading from human to human outside of China. We imagine we’ll get another dump of confirmed cases out of China around midnight, or around midday in Asia.

In the meantime, we leave you with another disturbing video taken in a Wuhan hospital: this time, an angry patient can be seen destroying a room with a chair…

See more running updates at Zero Hedge

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