Stringent measures against the new virus should be taken, HKU experts say

Hong Kong | 27 Jan 2020 6:43 pm

Experts from the University of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine warned on Monday the government should tighten measures to minimize the spread of the new Wuhan virus, RTHK reports. 

Professor Gabriel Leung, dean of the university’s medical school, said his team has estimated that as of last Saturday, some 44,000 people in Wuhan alone were likely to have been infected by the virus. 

Approximately 25,000 of these were likely to have been infected, with the others only in the cubation stage and not yet showing symptoms. 

The HKU experts said a global epidemic could be imminent, as the estimated infection figure significantly higher than the mainland’s latest official tally of 2,744 confirmed cases, and infections now reported in around a dozen countries. 

Leung said that as of last Saturday, the basic reproductive rate of the virus is 2.13, meaning that the virus has been doubled every 6.2 days. 

He said it is predicted that the majority of the patients infected with the virus from Wuhan have reached other mainland Chinese cities before last Saturday. At least 18 suspected cases of infection has been reported in Tsingtao, and 318 in Chongqing. 

The outbreak of the virus is expected to peak in other cities as well, including Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in April in May, and may subside around June and July, Leung said. 

He urged cities to immediately adopt stringent measures to limit population mobility. 

In respect of the SAR’s response to the outbreak, Leung did not deny the effectiveness of implementing an entry ban on people coming from Hubei province, but more needs to be done, such as to suspend classes, cancel large-scale public event to limit the transmission of the virus. 

“The question really is, how can we make sure the measures are feasible and enforceable,” he said. 

He said and his team has sent is study to the World Health Organisation and both China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Hong Kong governments for reference. 

Leung also apologized for having said in public that wearing a mask leaves people unable to speak to each other and he will be more careful with his words from now on.

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