Changes to Coronavirus Diagnostic Criteria Result in Confusion

7:11 am Health Care

For the second time in over a week, China has changed its criteria for confirming coronavirus cases, thus resulting in a dramatic decrease in new infections.

The new criteria exclude patients from Hubei Province, where cases are diagnosed using clinical methods, including CT scans and assessment of symptoms. Instead, patients there would be considered as having contracted the virus only when it is confirmed by a specialized nucleic acid test.

Making use of the new criteria, some 349 new cases were recorded in the previous 24 hours, taking the total figures for the country to 74,576. New deaths surged by 114 on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 2,118.

The government would now distinguish between “suspected” and “confirmed” cases. Cases would be considered as confirmed only after genetic testing. These tests take about two days for the results to be processed.

Meanwhile, Japan recorded deaths of two passengers who had been on board a quarantined cruise ship.

The two passengers from the cruise ship quarantined in Japan have died after contracting the novel coronavirus. These represent the first deaths among the over 600 people on board the cruise ship who had been infected.

Both the deceased patients were Japanese; an 87-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman. They were taken to hospitals on February 11 and 12, and both had underlying health issues. [Excerpts from New York Times]

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

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