BEIJING, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- More Chinese cities have stepped up monitoring, prevention and control of respiratory infectious diseases after an increase in coronavirus-related pneumonia cases.
The central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first case of novel coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) was identified, confirmed a third death on Jan. 18. A total of 136 new cases were reported in the city between Jan. 18 and late Jan. 19, according to a statement by local health authorities early Monday.
Among the newly-infected patients in Wuhan, 66 are male and 70 are female. They are aged between 25 and 89, and 36 of them, including the deceased, were in severe or critical conditions.
These patients showed symptoms such as fever, cough, chest distress or dyspnea before Jan. 18, according to Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.
Three new coronavirus-related pneumonia cases, two in Beijing and one in Shenzhen, were reported, the first time the virus has been identified outside Wuhan in China, said local health authorities. All three patients had traveled to Wuhan recently.
The patient in Shenzhen is a 66 year-old male who developed symptoms such as fever and fatigue on Jan. 3. The Beijing patients are receiving medical treatment in Daxing District. They currently have fevers but no respiratory symptoms. Eight people who were in close contact with the patient in Shenzhen and 44 in Beijing are currently under close medical observation.
According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). 2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Medical institutions across the country are paying close attention to the progression of the disease as the Spring Festival travel rush, dubbed as "the largest human migration," is currently underway.
The National Health Commission said it has activated the nationwide daily report mechanism and supplied nucleic acid testing kits to intensify the surveillance.
It said extra attention will be paid to the epidemic situation during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
Shanghai has increased manpower in pre-examination triage and fever clinics to enhance the monitoring, screening, diagnosis and treatment of suspected cases.
Guangdong has intensified inspection on open fairs and monitoring and testing of suspected cases, while Wuhan has improved monitoring procedures and testing speed with a new diagnosis and treatment plan.
As of 10:00 p.m. on Jan. 19, a total of 198 cases of novel coronavirus infections have been reported in Wuhan. In 25 of the cases, patients have been cured and discharged from the hospital.
A total of 170 patients are still receiving isolation treatment in hospitals across the city, of which 126 are mild and 44 are in severe or critical condition.
The city has placed 817 close contacts under medical observation, of which 727 have been released. Among the close contacts, no related cases have been found. Relevant authorities will continue to conduct timely sampling and testing for new suspected cases.