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Coronavirus ‘third wave’ hits as hospitals ‘fail to test patients and cases missed’

A “THIRD WAVE” of a deadly new virus has hit China – as hospitals are accused of failing to test patients and missing cases.

The terrifying Wuhan coronavirus has left six people dead and infected nearly 300 others since it first emerged last month.

 A so-called 'third wave' of the deadly new coronavirus has hit China

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A so-called ‘third wave’ of the deadly new coronavirus has hit ChinaCredit: Reuters

Experts believe that the number of cases may be higher than officially reported and suggest the figure could be closer to 1,700 people.

It was initially thought to be transmitted from animals – but authorities confirmed it can now spread from person to person.

A top expert in Hong Kong warned that the virus has taken a step closer to a “full-blown community epidemic”.

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a top infectious diseases expert at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), said the transmission of the coronavirus had entered its “third wave”.

The renowned microbiologist, who visited Wuhan after reports of an outbreak, told the South China Morning Post: “We are worried that the super-spreading event might have occurred already… we need to see if sustained human-to-human transmission has happened.”

New Year fears

It comes as more cases were confirmed in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia today.

And experts warn that there could be even more as families prepare to travel for the Chinese New Year celebrations this weekend.

Professor Robert Dingwall, a public health expert at Nottingham Trent University, told The Sun Online: “The suspicion that there are a lot more cases may actually be indicating that it is mostly not a severe disease.

“The Chinese authorities seems to be struggling to distinguish it from seasonal influenza in the community and are not clamping down on New Year travel.

“I suspect that it is a bit like influenza – some people can get it more severely than others and it is fatal in a few cases where people are poorly to start with.

The Chinese authorities seems to be struggling to distinguish it from seasonal influenza in the community and are not clamping down on New Year travel

Professor Robert Dingwallpublic health expert

“The reported deaths seem to have occurred among people who were already suffering from other conditions.

“The world population may not have much immunity but the present evidence does not suggest that this is a global threat to humanity.

“It is possible that Chinese New Year travel could bring the odd case to the UK but it is not feasible to screen for this.

“Currently, the main thing is for anyone who is returning from a visit to the Wuhan area and feels unwell to see their GP.”

 The new strain of coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, causes symptoms that may start as a cold and eventually end up developing into pneumonia

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The new strain of coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, causes symptoms that may start as a cold and eventually end up developing into pneumonia

It comes as top leaders warned Beijing not to cover up the spread of the deadly virus – as it was confirmed that it can be transmitted from humans.

Much of the country’s government-controlled media has not reported on the new virus prominently amid concern that it’s being underplayed.

China was slow to acknowledge the deadly outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which killed 700 people in 2002-2003.

It’s sparked concerns of another pandemic and state-sanctioned cover-up.

Cover-up suspicions

The son of a 65-year-old woman told the Guardian that his mother had checked into hospital with a fever and a cough – but wasn’t tested for the mystery illness or put into quarantine.

She took a turn and was given a CT scan, which showed her lungs were covered in white nodules, but died the following evening on January 15.

Huang, 40, who did not want to give his or his mother’s full name, claims two doctors told the family privately that she had probably contracted the virus but her official cause of death was put down as severe pneumonia.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is an airborne virus, spread in a similar way to colds and the flu.

The virus attacks the respiratory system, causing lung lesions.

Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever, shortness of breath, chills and body aches.

It is incredibly contagious and is spread through contact with anything the virus is on as well as infected breath, coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever, shortness of breath, chills and body aches.

In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease or people with weakened immune systems.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus.

In 2003 an outbreak of a similar virus, SARS, infected more than 8,000 people in 37 countries before it was brought under control, killing 800 of those worldwide.

He told the newspaper that the hospital pressured the family to immediately cremate his mother and a few days later workers in protective clothing retrieved her body.

The staff allegedly disinfected the van they had transported her in and threw away their hazmat suits straight afterwards.

It comes as stocks in several pharmaceutical giants on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges soared by their maximum 10 per cent daily limit.

Meanwhile, face mask manufacturers Tianjin Teda and Shanghai Dragon have also seen huge share price surges of 10 per cent after their products sold out.

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Experts are understood to be working on a vaccine to stop the spread – but it’s unlikely to be available for at least a year.

There are now 291 confirmed victims, including 270 from around the city of Wuhan, where the virus is thought to have originated.

Taiwan is the latest country to confirm a case of the lethal virus – after Australian officials said a man is being tested amid fears he picked up the bug in China.

While Chinese authorities have confirmed almost 300 cases, experts in the UK estimate that number could be far greater – with actual cases likely to be closer to 1,700.

The WHO has announced it will hold an Emergency Committee meeting in Geneva on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak is now a global crisis.

Such declarations are typically made for epidemics of severe diseases that threaten to cross borders and require an internationally coordinated response.

Previous global emergencies include the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Congo, the emergence of Zika virus in the Americas in 2016 and the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014.

The spread of the viral pneumonia comes as the country enters its busiest travel period when millions board trains and planes for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Top health official Gabriel Leung warns against cover-up as number of coronavirus virus cases jump

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