Date: January 29, 2020
By: James Griffiths, CNN
US citizen describes attempt to flee Wuhan 02:11
Hong Kong (CNN)The number of confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus has overtaken the 2003 SARS outbreak inside of mainland China, as the virus was confirmed to have spread to every province and region in the country.
As of Wednesday, there were 5,974 confirmed cases of the virus in mainland China, including 132 deaths, according to China's National Health Commission (NHC). The number of cases grew by almost 1,500 from Tuesday, a more than 30% increase. The figures do not include Hong Kong and Macau, both of which have reported a small number of cases.
There were 5,327 confirmed cases of SARS in mainland China during the 2003 outbreak, with 349 deaths. Experts have previously estimated the Wuhan virus figures could still be vastly under-reported, making the novel coronavirus far more contagious, but also less deadly, than SARS.
Wuhan's Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang said Tuesday that testing had been streamlined in recent days, leading to a spike in diagnoses. "This does not mean the speed of the disease spreading has increased drastically," he added.
Authorities in China also reported the first case of the Wuhan virus in Tibet, previously the only region to have avoided the virus. The spread to Tibet despite the implementation of strict checks on travelers and closing of tourist sites will renew concerns about how easily the virus is transmitted, particularly when people are asymptomatic.
The semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, which has reported eight cases of the virus, announced Tuesday it was closing many of its border crossings with mainland China, slashing the number of tourist visas it issues to mainland Chinese visitors, and halving the number of inbound flights from the mainland. [FULL STORY]