BEIJING, 13 Feb 2020:
The number of cases of COVID-19 has surged nearly 10-fold from the previous day in China’s Hubei Province, the epicentre of the outbreak. The number of new deaths also increased dramatically, to 242.
Officials today explained the sharp rise was because they reclassified how they were diagnosing and counting cases of COVID-19. Health officials reported 14,840 new cases – reversing several days of declines in official new diagnoses in the province.
The Hubei Provincial Health Commission said the number of new cases included 13,332 clinically diagnosed cases, which have been seen as confirmed cases from today.
It brought the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 48,206. The province had a total of 1,310 deaths as of yesterday.
There are now more than 60,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with all but about 500 in mainland China. There have been 1,367 deaths – with most of them in Hubei province.
Clinically diagnosed cases are unique to Hubei statistically. The inclusion of those cases drives the surge in the number of new confirmed cases.
Any suspected cases with pneumonia-related computerised tomography (CT) scan results are counted as clinically diagnosed cases, according to the latest version of the diagnosis and treatment scheme released by the National Health Commission.
The provincial health commission said the diagnosis criteria revision has been made to give those who have been clinically diagnosed the timely standard treatment of confirmed cases to further improve the treatment success rate.
The province also saw 3,441 patients discharged from hospital after recovery as of yesterday. Among the 33,693 hospitalised patients, 5,647 were still in severe condition and another 1,437 in critical condition.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has confirmed and verified three additional cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore, bringing the tally to 50.
A statement issued by MoH said all of the three cases had no recent travel history to China.
At a press conference here, MoH deputy director Medical Services (Health Services Group), Associate Professor Kenneth Mak said two of the new positive cases involved Singapore citizens who both had gone to work at the Grace Assembly of God (Tanglin) and Grace Assembly of God (Bukit Batok) churches.
The 50th case involved a Singapore citizen who works at DBS Asia Central and was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection this morning, Mak said.
It was reported earlier that about 300 DBS employees vacated their office at Marina Bay Financial Centre, after an employee was confirmed to be infected with the disease.
COVID-19 is the official name given by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said six more cases of COVID-19 have been discharged from hospital – thus bringing the total of fully recovered patients to 15.
Gan noted that of the 35 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving.
“But eight are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. We continue to keep them in our thoughts. Our healthcare workers will continue to provide them with the best care possible.
“While most infected patients will recover, some may get seriously ill, and a small number may succumb to the infection ultimately. We have to be prepared for the worst.”
The ministry noted that further epidemiological investigations and contact tracing have uncovered links between previously announced and new cases.
So far, five cases are linked to The Life Church and Missions Singapore at Paya Lebar Road; nine cases to the cluster associated with Chinese health products shop Yong Thai Hang; three linked to the private business meeting at Grand Hyatt Singapore; two to the Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site; and another two linked to the Grace Assembly of God.