February 26, 2020
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    Number of Wuhan coronavirus cases overtakes SARS, as virus spreads

    January 29, 2020
     

    The number of confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus has overtaken the 2003 SARS outbreak inside of mainland China, as multiple countries evacuated their citizens from the city at the heart of the outbreak.As of Wednesday, there were 5,974 confirmed cases of the virus in mainland China, including 132 deaths, according to China's National Health Commission (NHC). The number of cases grew by almost 1,500 from Tuesday, a more than 30% increase. The figures do not include Hong Kong and Macau, both of which have reported a small number of cases.
    There have been more than 80 cases of the virus reported outside mainland China, bringing the worldwide total to over 6,000.
    During the 2003 SARS outbreak, there were 5,327 confirmed cases of the disease in mainland China, with 349 deaths. Experts have previously estimated the Wuhan virus figures could still be vastly under-reported, making the novel coronavirus far more contagious, but also less deadly, than SARS.
    Wuhan's Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang said Tuesday that testing had been streamlined in recent days, leading to a spike in diagnoses. "This does not mean the speed of the disease spreading has increased drastically," he added.
    Authorities in China also reported a suspected case of the Wuhan virus in Tibet, previously the only region to have avoided the virus. If confirmed, the spread to Tibet despite the implementation of strict checks on travelers and closing of tourist sites will renew concerns about how easily the virus is transmitted, particularly when people are asymptomatic.
    The semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, which has reported eight cases of the virus, announced Tuesday it was closing many of its border crossings with mainland China, slashing the number of tourist visas it issues to mainland Chinese visitors, and halving the number of inbound flights from the mainland.
    Hong Kong has also instructed government employees to work from home for the rest of the week, and requested private companies do the same. The streets and public transport were noticeably quiet on Wednesday morning, the first day back from the Lunar New Year holiday.
    Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday vowed to do everything to tackle the "demon" epidemic.
    Speaking during a meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom in Beijing, Xi said the Chinese people "are engaging in a serious battle against the outbreak of the new coronavirus."
    "People's lives and health are always the first priority for the Chinese government, and the prevention and control of the epidemic is the most important task at present, so I have been directing and deploying the works myself," Xi added. "I believe as long as we can strengthen our confidence, stand together, scientifically prevent and control the epidemic and adopt precise measures, we will definitely defeat this epidemic."
    First evacuees leave Wuhan
    Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province at the center of the virus outbreak, is on effective lockdown and countries have begun repatriating their citizens trapped there.
    A flight carrying 206 Japanese nationals arrived in Tokyo Wednesday morning. The passengers are all quarantined on board and those with any pneumonia-like symptoms will be taken to a special medical center for treatment. Passengers without symptoms will be taken to separate hospitals for further screening.
    Around 450 more Japanese citizens have not yet departed. Japanese citizens who live close to the Huanan Seafood Market -- pinpointed by Chinese authorities as the likely source of the virus -- and highly-populated areas in Wuhan were given priority on the first flight.
    A plane carrying approximately 210 US citizens -- mostly diplomats and their families -- has also left Wuhan, according to a State Department spokesperson, bound for Riverside, California via Alaska. More Americans remain in the city, hoping to be evacuated at a later date.
    The plane had originally been destined for California's Ontario International Airport, but officials said late Tuesday that it would instead land at a military base near Riverside. No reason was immediately given for the change in itinerary.
    As of early Wednesday morning, the plane had landed in Anchorage, Alaska, where it will refuel before heading on to the US west coast. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said passengers will undergo health screenings there to ensure they are not experiencing coronavirus symptoms before traveling onward.
    After landing in the US, passengers will be placed in isolation for between three days and two weeks, a California official told CNN earlier. Doctors have previously recommended a two-week quarantine for people exposed to the virus.
    South Korea and New Zealand are chartering flights to bring their citizens home. More controversially, Australia said it will charter a flight to fetch citizens, but they will be transported to quarantine on Christmas Island, site of a former offshore detention camp for migrants.
    Virus spreads worldwide
    The first cases of the coronavirus were detected in Wuhan in mid-December. Since then, the number of confirmed cases has increased exponentially, and infections have been reported worldwide.
    Hospitals in Wuhan are already massively overstretched, and hundreds of emergency medical personnel have been dispatched to the city to help. Two new hospitals dedicated to treating the virus are also being built on the city's outskirts, due to be operational by next week.
    Authorities in the city said that as of January 27 there were still more than 4,000 Wuhan residents overseas. The Wuhan culture and tourism bureau said that all tour groups were canceled after the lockdown was announced, but groups that left prior to that date were still slowly returning to the city.
    More than a dozen countries have confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus, as authorities struggle to stop its spread.
    Across Asia, many countries have put in extra screening at airports and warned citizens to avoid travel to China. To China's north, neighboring Mongolia has imposed stringent border checks on travelers coming into the country. Indonesia and the Philippines have both introduced extra restrictions on Chinese tourists, while Japan has upgraded its response, allowing authorities to "force the suspicious cases for hospitalization and testing."
    Around a hundred cases have been reported worldwide, with the most, 14, detected in Thailand, a popular destination for Chinese travelers. Countries with colder climates are more at risk for future spread, as coronaviruses thrive in cold environments and do not transmit as well in sunny, hot locales.
    While most cases reported outside of China have a direct link to Wuhan, there are indications the virus is beginning to spread within other countries. Three new cases were reported in Germany on Tuesday, including what is believed to be the first human-to-human transmission in Europe.
    Multiple countries have advised citizens not to visit China due to the ongoing outbreak. On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a level 3 alert advising against all "nonessential travel" -- its highest alert on a scale of 1 to 3. However, the White House denied reports suggesting it was planning to suspend all flights between the US and China.
    A couple, wearing protective masks, kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holidays, at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing. Chinese authorities rapidly expanded a mammoth quarantine effort aimed at containing a deadly contagion on January 24 to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A couple, wearing protective masks, kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holidays, at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing. Chinese authorities rapidly expanded a mammoth quarantine effort aimed at containing a deadly contagion on January 24 to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed.
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    17 of 33
    Workers manufacture protective face masks in a factory in China's Hebei Province on Thursday, January 23. Face masks stocks are running low following the outbreak of coronavirus.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Workers manufacture protective face masks in a factory in China's Hebei Province on Thursday, January 23. Face masks stocks are running low following the outbreak of coronavirus.
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    18 of 33
    An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, January 24.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, January 24.
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    19 of 33
    Passengers wear protective masks at a Beijing railway station on Thursday, January 23. Authorities in the Chinese capital have canceled all large-scale New Year celebrations to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers wear protective masks at a Beijing railway station on Thursday, January 23. Authorities in the Chinese capital have canceled all large-scale New Year celebrations to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
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    20 of 33
    A woman rides an electric bicycle on January 22 in Wuhan, China. The city where the outbreak began is under partial lockdown.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A woman rides an electric bicycle on January 22 in Wuhan, China. The city where the outbreak began is under partial lockdown.
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    21 of 33
    Medical staff transfers a patient at Hospital of Wuhan Red Cross Society, January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Medical staff transfers a patient at Hospital of Wuhan Red Cross Society, January 23.
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    22 of 33
    People in Guangzhou, China, wear protective masks on January 22.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People in Guangzhou, China, wear protective masks on January 22.
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    23 of 33
    People go through a checkpoint in Guangzhou on January 22.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People go through a checkpoint in Guangzhou on January 22.
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    24 of 33
    Shoppers wear masks in a Wuhan market on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Shoppers wear masks in a Wuhan market on January 23.
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    25 of 33
    Medical staff of Union Hospital, affiliated with the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, attend a gathering to form an "assault team" in the fight against pneumonia caused by the Wuhan coronavirus on January 22.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Medical staff of Union Hospital, affiliated with the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, attend a gathering to form an "assault team" in the fight against pneumonia caused by the Wuhan coronavirus on January 22.
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    26 of 33
    Passengers from overseas are checked by a thermography device on January 23 at the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers from overseas are checked by a thermography device on January 23 at the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan.
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    27 of 33
    Health officials hold a press conference in Beijing on January 22 following the spread of pneumonia caused by the coronavirus.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Health officials hold a press conference in Beijing on January 22 following the spread of pneumonia caused by the coronavirus.
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    28 of 33
    People wear marks while shopping for vegetables in a market in Wuhan on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wear marks while shopping for vegetables in a market in Wuhan on January 23.
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    29 of 33
    A militia member checks the body temperature of a driver in Wuhan on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A militia member checks the body temperature of a driver in Wuhan on January 23.
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    30 of 33
    Passengers wear masks as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers wear masks as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on January 23.
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    31 of 33
    A customer holds boxes of particulate respirators at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A customer holds boxes of particulate respirators at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on January 23.
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    32 of 33
    Passengers wear masks at the high-speed train station in Hong Kong on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers wear masks at the high-speed train station in Hong Kong on January 23.
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    33 of 33
    People wear protective masks as they pray at a Chinese temple in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wear protective masks as they pray at a Chinese temple in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, January 28.
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    1 of 33
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in wears a mask to inspect the National Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in wears a mask to inspect the National Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, on January 28.
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    2 of 33
    Security officers wear masks at a high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Security officers wear masks at a high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China on January 28.
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    3 of 33
    Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, speaks during a news conference about the American public health response.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, speaks during a news conference about the American public health response.
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    4 of 33
    Workers at an airport in Novosibirsk, Russia, check the temperatures of passengers who arrived from Beijing on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Workers at an airport in Novosibirsk, Russia, check the temperatures of passengers who arrived from Beijing on January 28.
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    5 of 33
    Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, attends a news conference in Hong Kong on January 28. Lam said China will stop individual travelers to Hong Kong while closing some border checkpoints and restricting flights and train services from the mainland.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, attends a news conference in Hong Kong on January 28. Lam said China will stop individual travelers to Hong Kong while closing some border checkpoints and restricting flights and train services from the mainland.
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    6 of 33
    Students disinfect their hands with an alcohol solution before entering class in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Students disinfect their hands with an alcohol solution before entering class in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on January 28.
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    7 of 33
    Two residents walk in an empty park in Wuhan, China, on Monday, January 27. The city remained on lockdown for a fourth day.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Two residents walk in an empty park in Wuhan, China, on Monday, January 27. The city remained on lockdown for a fourth day.
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    8 of 33
    People wearing masks walk pass a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn near the Grand Palace in Bangkok on January 27.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wearing masks walk pass a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn near the Grand Palace in Bangkok on January 27.
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    9 of 33
    Flight crews wearing masks arrive at the Toronto Pearson Airport on Sunday, January 26.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Flight crews wearing masks arrive at the Toronto Pearson Airport on Sunday, January 26.
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    10 of 33
    Police officers stand in front of the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on January 26.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Police officers stand in front of the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on January 26.
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    11 of 33
    A person wears a protective mask, goggles and coat as he stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing on January 26.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A person wears a protective mask, goggles and coat as he stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing on January 26.
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    12 of 33
    Medical staff members bring a patient to the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on Saturday, January 25.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Medical staff members bring a patient to the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on Saturday, January 25.
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    13 of 33
    People wear protective masks as they walk under Lunar New Year decorations in Beijing on January 25.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wear protective masks as they walk under Lunar New Year decorations in Beijing on January 25.
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    14 of 33
    Construction workers begin to work on a special hospital in Wuhan, China, to deal with the coronavirus outbreak on Friday, January 24.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Construction workers begin to work on a special hospital in Wuhan, China, to deal with the coronavirus outbreak on Friday, January 24.
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    15 of 33
    Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters on January 24 about <a href="/https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/24/health/wuhan-coronavirus-chicago-cdc/index.html" target="_blank">a patient in Chicago</a> who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patient is the second in the United States to be diagnosed with the illness.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters on January 24 about a patient in Chicago who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patient is the second in the United States to be diagnosed with the illness.
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    16 of 33
    A couple, wearing protective masks, kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holidays, at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing. Chinese authorities rapidly expanded a mammoth quarantine effort aimed at containing a deadly contagion on January 24 to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A couple, wearing protective masks, kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holidays, at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing. Chinese authorities rapidly expanded a mammoth quarantine effort aimed at containing a deadly contagion on January 24 to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed.
    Hide Caption
    17 of 33
    Workers manufacture protective face masks in a factory in China's Hebei Province on Thursday, January 23. Face masks stocks are running low following the outbreak of coronavirus.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Workers manufacture protective face masks in a factory in China's Hebei Province on Thursday, January 23. Face masks stocks are running low following the outbreak of coronavirus.
    Hide Caption
    18 of 33
    An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, January 24.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, January 24.
    Hide Caption
    19 of 33
    Passengers wear protective masks at a Beijing railway station on Thursday, January 23. Authorities in the Chinese capital have canceled all large-scale New Year celebrations to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers wear protective masks at a Beijing railway station on Thursday, January 23. Authorities in the Chinese capital have canceled all large-scale New Year celebrations to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
    Hide Caption
    20 of 33
    A woman rides an electric bicycle on January 22 in Wuhan, China. The city where the outbreak began is under partial lockdown.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A woman rides an electric bicycle on January 22 in Wuhan, China. The city where the outbreak began is under partial lockdown.
    Hide Caption
    21 of 33
    Medical staff transfers a patient at Hospital of Wuhan Red Cross Society, January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Medical staff transfers a patient at Hospital of Wuhan Red Cross Society, January 23.
    Hide Caption
    22 of 33
    People in Guangzhou, China, wear protective masks on January 22.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People in Guangzhou, China, wear protective masks on January 22.
    Hide Caption
    23 of 33
    People go through a checkpoint in Guangzhou on January 22.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People go through a checkpoint in Guangzhou on January 22.
    Hide Caption
    24 of 33
    Shoppers wear masks in a Wuhan market on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Shoppers wear masks in a Wuhan market on January 23.
    Hide Caption
    25 of 33
    Medical staff of Union Hospital, affiliated with the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, attend a gathering to form an "assault team" in the fight against pneumonia caused by the Wuhan coronavirus on January 22.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Medical staff of Union Hospital, affiliated with the Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, attend a gathering to form an "assault team" in the fight against pneumonia caused by the Wuhan coronavirus on January 22.
    Hide Caption
    26 of 33
    Passengers from overseas are checked by a thermography device on January 23 at the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers from overseas are checked by a thermography device on January 23 at the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan.
    Hide Caption
    27 of 33
    Health officials hold a press conference in Beijing on January 22 following the spread of pneumonia caused by the coronavirus.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Health officials hold a press conference in Beijing on January 22 following the spread of pneumonia caused by the coronavirus.
    Hide Caption
    28 of 33
    People wear marks while shopping for vegetables in a market in Wuhan on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wear marks while shopping for vegetables in a market in Wuhan on January 23.
    Hide Caption
    29 of 33
    A militia member checks the body temperature of a driver in Wuhan on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A militia member checks the body temperature of a driver in Wuhan on January 23.
    Hide Caption
    30 of 33
    Passengers wear masks as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers wear masks as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on January 23.
    Hide Caption
    31 of 33
    A customer holds boxes of particulate respirators at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A customer holds boxes of particulate respirators at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on January 23.
    Hide Caption
    32 of 33
    Passengers wear masks at the high-speed train station in Hong Kong on January 23.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Passengers wear masks at the high-speed train station in Hong Kong on January 23.
    Hide Caption
    33 of 33
    People wear protective masks as they pray at a Chinese temple in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wear protective masks as they pray at a Chinese temple in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, January 28.
    Hide Caption
    1 of 33
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in wears a mask to inspect the National Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in wears a mask to inspect the National Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, on January 28.
    Hide Caption
    2 of 33
    Security officers wear masks at a high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Security officers wear masks at a high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China on January 28.
    Hide Caption
    3 of 33
    Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, speaks during a news conference about the American public health response.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, speaks during a news conference about the American public health response.
    Hide Caption
    4 of 33
    Workers at an airport in Novosibirsk, Russia, check the temperatures of passengers who arrived from Beijing on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Workers at an airport in Novosibirsk, Russia, check the temperatures of passengers who arrived from Beijing on January 28.
    Hide Caption
    5 of 33
    Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, attends a news conference in Hong Kong on January 28. Lam said China will stop individual travelers to Hong Kong while closing some border checkpoints and restricting flights and train services from the mainland.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, attends a news conference in Hong Kong on January 28. Lam said China will stop individual travelers to Hong Kong while closing some border checkpoints and restricting flights and train services from the mainland.
    Hide Caption
    6 of 33
    Students disinfect their hands with an alcohol solution before entering class in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on January 28.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Students disinfect their hands with an alcohol solution before entering class in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on January 28.
    Hide Caption
    7 of 33
    Two residents walk in an empty park in Wuhan, China, on Monday, January 27. The city remained on lockdown for a fourth day.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Two residents walk in an empty park in Wuhan, China, on Monday, January 27. The city remained on lockdown for a fourth day.
    Hide Caption
    8 of 33
    People wearing masks walk pass a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn near the Grand Palace in Bangkok on January 27.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wearing masks walk pass a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn near the Grand Palace in Bangkok on January 27.
    Hide Caption
    9 of 33
    Flight crews wearing masks arrive at the Toronto Pearson Airport on Sunday, January 26.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Flight crews wearing masks arrive at the Toronto Pearson Airport on Sunday, January 26.
    Hide Caption
    10 of 33
    Police officers stand in front of the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on January 26.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Police officers stand in front of the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on January 26.
    Hide Caption
    11 of 33
    A person wears a protective mask, goggles and coat as he stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing on January 26.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A person wears a protective mask, goggles and coat as he stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing on January 26.
    Hide Caption
    12 of 33
    Medical staff members bring a patient to the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on Saturday, January 25.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Medical staff members bring a patient to the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on Saturday, January 25.
    Hide Caption
    13 of 33
    People wear protective masks as they walk under Lunar New Year decorations in Beijing on January 25.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    People wear protective masks as they walk under Lunar New Year decorations in Beijing on January 25.
    Hide Caption
    14 of 33
    Construction workers begin to work on a special hospital in Wuhan, China, to deal with the coronavirus outbreak on Friday, January 24.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Construction workers begin to work on a special hospital in Wuhan, China, to deal with the coronavirus outbreak on Friday, January 24.
    Hide Caption
    15 of 33
    Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters on January 24 about <a href="/https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/24/health/wuhan-coronavirus-chicago-cdc/index.html" target="_blank">a patient in Chicago</a> who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patient is the second in the United States to be diagnosed with the illness.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters on January 24 about a patient in Chicago who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patient is the second in the United States to be diagnosed with the illness.
    Hide Caption
    16 of 33
    A couple, wearing protective masks, kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holidays, at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing. Chinese authorities rapidly expanded a mammoth quarantine effort aimed at containing a deadly contagion on January 24 to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed.
    Photos: The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
    A couple, wearing protective masks, kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holidays, at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing. Chinese authorities rapidly expanded a mammoth quarantine effort aimed at containing a deadly contagion on January 24 to 13 cities and a staggering 41 million people, as nervous residents were checked for fevers and the death toll climbed.
    Hide Caption
    17 of 33
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    Cases will continue to spread
    With much of China seeing the type of cold weather ideal for the coronavirus, and uncertainty remaining on just how contagious it is, experts expect the number of cases to continue to rise for several weeks.
    Speaking to state media Tuesday, Zhong Nanshan, one of China's leading respiratory experts and a hero of the 2003 fight against SARS, said he expected the peak to come in up to 10 days.
    "It is very difficult to definitely estimate when the outbreak reaches its peak. But I think in one week or about 10 days, it will reach the climax and then there will be no large-scale increases," Zhong said.
    However, other experts have warned that while the outbreak in Hubei may peak in the coming weeks, other Chinese megacities may see self-sustaining epidemics that continue to spread the pathogen around the country and worldwide.
    "We modeled epidemic curves out to August 2020 for all the major city clusters: Chongqing, Shanghai-Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing. Chongqing is predicted to have the largest epidemic due to large population and most intense traffic volume coupled to Wuhan," Gabriel Leung, a leading Hong Kong researcher and public health expert, said earlier this week.
    He said outbreaks in China's largest cities could peak in April or May and gradually slow in June and July.
    A laboratory in Australia became the first outside of China to grow the Wuhan coronavirus from a patient sample, it announced Wednesday. Doing so will "provide expert international laboratories with crucial information to help combat the virus," the scientists said.
    During a news conference on Wednesday, Mike Catton, director of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory said "we are proud to have grown the virus in such a short space of time" and added they will "share this with international colleagues" to help with the developments of vaccines and medicines.
    Catton added that this successful growth will "help us understand the epidemiology of the outbreak."

     

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