VIDEO: 'Test, Test and Test:' Wuhan Doctor Gives Coronavirus Advice as Infections Spread
Four doctors in Wuhan on Monday offered advice to colleagues around the world in their second teleconference where they cautioned to "test, test, and test" as the coronavirus spreads around the world. "Whenever you have no chance to do the test, I mean, the nuclear acid test for COVID-19, you never know who is the carrier, who is the patient, and you never know who should be quarantined and who are (their) close contacts," said Du Bin, director of the intensive care unit of one of China's top hospitals. Bin and other doctors have spent weeks in Wuhan helping efforts to curb the outbreak and treat infections. They maintain constant research links with their home institution in Beijing, the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. China, where the virus was first detected in December, now accounts for less than half of the world's 169,000 cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. In the latest tally, China's National Health Commission reported 16 new cases of the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours. Twelve of them were imported from overseas. China now has 80,860 confirmed cases. The health commission said that 67,749 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. Fourteen more deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, raising the toll to 3,213. A shutdown of public gatherings and a quarantine of the hardest-hit central region has steadied China's caseload as the virus spreads rapidly elsewhere. Most of the world's 77,000 recovered patients are in China. Traffic has begun returning to Beijing. Office buildings, however, are enforcing strict screenings for fever, and many restaurants only offer takeout. Children usually snowed under with classes and homework found themselves glued to screens, shopping, chatting and watching video clips. Cao Wei, deputy director of the hospital's infectious disease department, said that preexisting conditions like chronic lung disease, hypertension or diabetes are often behind patient deaths. She also said that while China seems to have turned a corner against the disease, the virus will remain in the country for the foreseeable future if sporadically. "But we all know that another important source of newly onset cases now come from imported ones, imported patients from outside China. So it is most probable that the newly reported cases, including the imported ones, may be kept at a relatively low level but may last for a certain period of time," she said. Starting Monday, travelers arriving in Beijing from overseas will be quarantined for 14 days in designated facilities at their own expense. Previously, people without symptoms could self-quarantine at home.