Wuhan coronavirus: Hong Kong expert says there are 44,000 cases in Wuhan
Topics: WUHAN CORONAVIRUS HONG KONG
Hong Kong infectious disease experts are urging the government to take “draconian” measures against the spread of the deadly new coronavirus from the mainland Chinese city of Wuhan, citing research estimating that 44,000 patients could be infected there far higher than official figures.
Mainland authorities have put the number of confirmed cases across the country at about 2,800 as of Monday, with the death toll at 81.
Hong Kong has eight confirmed cases of infection.
Lead researcher and dean of HKU’s faculty of medicine Gabriel Leung said his team estimated there were 25,630 patients showing symptoms in Wuhan and that the number would double in 6.2 days, according to mathematical modelling based on infection figures worldwide as of Saturday.
Leung said his team’s research showed self sustaining human to human transmission was already happening in all major mainland cities and warned that a pandemic might be close.
“We have to be prepared, that this particular epidemic may be about to become a global epidemic,” he said.
The team’s model predicted the number of infections in five mainland megacities Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing would peak between late April and early May. At the height of the epidemic, as many as 150,000 new cases would be confirmed every day in Chongqing, because of its large population coupled with intense travel volume with Wuhan.
But Leung added that their projections could be too pessimistic as they only took into account lockdown measures in Wuhan and not other health intervention policies.
Leung, who sits on Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s advisory committee on the coronavirus, called for drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus. ■