Coronavirus update: China to add asymptomatic Covid-19 patients to disease tally
China reported 48 new imported Covid-19 cases until early on Tuesday, taking the number of confirmed cases on the mainland to 81518 with 3305 deaths. No new death was reported in the past 24 hours. China now has 771 cases of imported cases.Updated: Mar 31, 2020 17:09 IST
China will start making public asymptomatic coronavirus cases from Wednesday, health authorities have announced with Chinese experts saying that one such patient could infect more than three others.
The existence of an unknown number of such carriers, who are infected but do not show symptoms of the Covid-19 disease, means that they could be spreading it without themselves being aware of being infected.
In a separate announcement, China on Tuesday delayed its annual national college entrance exam by a month as authorities continue to contain infected travellers returning from abroad who are triggering new cases, raising concern over the threat of a second wave of infections.
The announcements came as China reported 48 new imported Covid-19 cases until early on Tuesday, taking the number of confirmed cases on the mainland to 81518 with 3305 deaths. No new death was reported in the past 24 hours. China now has 771 cases of imported cases.
Until now, China has not added the number of asymptomatic patients to its daily disease tally, raising questions whether the official numbers actually reveal the true picture of the state of infections in the country.
China will start reporting on asymptomatic coronavirus cases that have been confirmed in the mainland from Wednesday, the NHC’s Chang Jile said on Tuesday.
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Speaking at a daily press conference in Hubei, Chang added that all asymptomatic virus cases would be centrally quarantined for 14 days.
As of Tuesday, the number of asymptomatic patients under medical observation in China was 1541 of which 205 were overseas cases.
The existence of a substantial but unknown number of coronavirus carriers displaying no symptoms has raised concerns among the Chinese public that people could still be spreading the virus without knowing they are sick.
China state media reported that Premier Li Keqiang has stressed the importance of tightening controls around asymptomatic patients.
Li was quoted as saying on Monday that the information of such patients must be disclosed as soon as they are detected, adding it was important to track people who had contact with asymptomatic patients as well.
The number of asymptomatic patients could, in reality, be much higher.
Yang Zhanqiu, a Wuhan-based virologist, told the tabloid Global Times that there could be at least 200,000 virus carriers with no symptoms currently in China.
“The asymptomatic patients have strong physical immunity or carry weak virus with less virulence, which is why they don’t show symptoms but they still spread the virus in the early stage of infection,” Yang explained.