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News > China

China: Possible Cases Increase Due to New Diagnostic Criteria

  • Man wearing a mask walks out of a supermarket in Beijing, China, Feb. 13, 2020.

    Man wearing a mask walks out of a supermarket in Beijing, China, Feb. 13, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 13 February 2020

China confirmed 15,152 new coronavirus cases and 254 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Chinese health authorities modified the diagnostic criteria for probable cases of coronavirus-related pneumonia and reported 15,152 new coronavirus cases and 254 deaths on Wednesday.


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The Hubei Provincial Health Commission explained that the new methodology includes "those patients who have been clinically diagnosed."

Until Tuesday, infected cases were detected by a ribonucleic acid test, the results of which took several days. This delayed the timely treatment of patients.

From now on, the new diagnostic criteria determine that the results of a computerized tomography scan will be sufficient to consider a person infected. In this way, patients receive treatment on time.

Benjamin Cowling, the co-director of the Center for Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Hong Kong, says the new criteria are adequate to assess the impact of the epidemic.

"It makes perfect sense to include the probable cases. It is a delicate movement to modify the criteria but it is good to change it now," Cowling explained and added that he believes that the outbreak's peak could be reached by the end of February.​​​​​​​

John Nicolls, a member of the research team that isolated the Severe and Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus (SARS) in 2003, stressed that "no test is fully accurate" to diagnose the new pathogen.

"It does not have the same mortality as SARS," Nicolls said but acknowledged that much is still unknown about the COVID-19, which is the new official name of the coronavirus.

On Thursday, Hubei's highest authority, Jiang Chaoling, was replaced by the Shangai mayor, Ying Yong. The dismissal of the Hubei Health Commission director Liu Yingzi was also reported.

These administrative changes would be part of a strategy to deal more effectively with an epidemic that has affected 59,805 people throughout China so far.


John Nicolls
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