Pneumonia Outbreak in Central China Stirs Further Panic

January 8, 2020

On Jan. 7, hospitals in Hong Kong, which borders southern China, admitted nine more patients who had symptoms of fever, respiratory infection, or pneumonia, bringing the total number of suspected cases to 30. All patients have recently visited Wuhan, a bustling commercial city in central China, where the illness first broke out.

The Hong Kong patients, aged 2 to 65, remain in stable condition; 13 have been discharged.

The Hong Kong government said it would amend its health law this week to add the mysterious Wuhan pneumonia to an official list of infectious diseases, which means medical staffers are required to report all suspected or confirmed cases to health authorities.

Wuhan health authorities reported that the illness was initially detected on Dec. 12. Chinese health authorities said they are closely monitoring 163 people who had contact with the infected, but have yet to identify the strain of pneumonia or confirm the source of the illness. It remains unclear whether the virus is contagious.

One of the patients, a 44-year-old seafood market worker surnamed Wang, incurred medical bills as high as 43,000 yuan ($6,191), according to China Business Journal, a Chinese language newspaper affiliated with the Chinese regime’s cabinet-like State Council. Wang suffered from high fever for over a week before going to the hospital on Dec. 24. CT scans found white shadows looming over two-thirds of Wang’s lungs, Wang’s relative told the outlet.

Health authorities suspect that the outbreak originated from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market and have temporarily shut it down since the New Year.

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