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China’s Hubei province, at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has reported a record rise in deaths and thousands of new cases according to a new diagnostic. This suggests that the scale of the epidemic is much larger than initially thought..
Asian stock markets swayed and Japanese yen, gold and bonds rallied after new figures from Hubei shattered hopes of stabilizing the epidemic and a quick recovery in the Chinese economy..
Health officials in Hubei province said 242 people died from the influenza virus on Wednesday, the fastest rise in daily deaths since the pathogen was discovered last December..
Thus, the total mortality from the virus was 1367.
As recently as yesterday, Asian markets were buoyed by news of their lowest number of new cases in two weeks, bolstering China’s senior medical advisor’s forecast that the epidemic could end by April..
Hubei previously only allowed injections confirmed by RNA tests, which can take days to process. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information that allows organisms such as viruses to be identified.
However, the day before in the province, they took into operation computed tomography (CT), which quickly detects lung infections. As a result, 14,840 new cases were reported in the central province on Thursday, versus 2,015. across the country the day before.
It has now been confirmed that about 60 thousand have been infected with the virus. human.
New diagnostic procedure could explain the spike in deaths, said Raina McIntyre, director of biosecurity research at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales..
«Presumably, there are deaths that have occurred in people who did not have a laboratory diagnosis but had a CT scan. It is important that they are also taken into account.», – she told Reuters.
New testing is only being used in Hubei so far, officials say.
Consulting firm Capital Economics said the surge does not necessarily indicate an acceleration in the spread of the virus, but rather that official figures are underestimating its prevalence..
According to state media reports, Provincial Communist Party leader Jiang Chaoliang was fired from his post as secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee, and Ma Guoqiang was ousted as party leader in the provincial capital of Wuhan.
«It is a long-standing political tradition to blame local officials by channeling popular anger at them rather than the top leadership.», – said Willy Lam, expert on Chinese politics at the University of Hong Kong.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the number of infections in China has stabilized, but it is too early to talk about a slowdown in the epidemic..
Chinese scientists test two antiviral drugs. Preliminary results from clinical trials will appear in a few weeks, but the development of a vaccine could take 18 months.