Basic reproduction rate of the novel coronavirus has increased to 2.13 times and the epidemic will double every 6.2 days, first case detected in Cambodia


27th January 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Gabriel Matthew Leung, a clinician and a public health authority who is also the Dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong expressed in a media conference today that as of 25th January, there were around 25,630 cases of Wuhan pneumonia and the total does not include those who developed mild symptoms or incubation-period cases. He estimates the total to reach 44,000. Patients with pneumonia infection in Wuhan and other parts of the world have increased rapidly since 15th January. According to the available data, they estimate that the current basic reproduction rate of the virus has increased to 2.13 times and the epidemic will double every 6.2 days. As Wuhan is one of the major transport hubs in China, thousands of patients have already reached major cities in China by plane, train, and road since 25th January. Among them, 318 infected patients are expected to have reached Chongqing, 150 to Beijing and 129 to Shanghai. The lockdown of Wuhan city may no longer effectively contain the epidemic.

Leung predicts that the epidemic will peak in Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in April and May. Among them, Chongqing, which has the most frequent traffic connections to Wuhan and the largest number of people entering and leaving the country, will be the city with the highest outbreak rate. About 150,000 new patients with suspected cases are detected daily, and the number of confirmed cases may reach 100,000. The epidemic will peak in 4 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou before slowly subsiding by June or July. He further said that the number of people infected with Wuhan pneumonia will definitely be higher than that of SARS. Wuhan pneumonia has fewer clinical features than SARS, many patients will not show obvious symptoms during the incubation period.

He commended the Hong Kong government for stopping visitors from Hubei province to enter Hong Kong. However, he felt that more steps should be taken. He urged the public to reduce the number of departures from Hong Kong, wear face masks and pay attention to personal hygiene. Experts point out that Wuhan pneumonia may become a global epidemic. The government must take stricter measures to control human traffic flow, including cancelling large gatherings and suspending classes. Let employees and students work from home.

Meanwhile, the first confirmed case of coronavirus was detected in Cambodia today.