We've noticed that the number of affected patients has grown rapidly in recent days. Was the early information that was disclosed insufficient? Has the government concealed some parts of the whole picture?
Mr. Li just mentioned that we place a great deal of importance on disclosing information, which we believe to be important. After the outbreak, the Wuhan Municipal Health Committee, under the guidance of the National Health Commission, released the latest information about the epidemic on Dec. 31, 2019, Jan. 3, 5 and 9, 2020. As the situation gradually changed, we started giving daily updates from Jan. 11 onwards. On Jan. 9, the National Health Commission also immediately released its finding that the pathogen is a new type of coronavirus.
Recently, cases have been reported in areas outside Wuhan. In order to inform the public of the latest, most accurate and comprehensive situation, China's NHC began tallying and publishing the number of confirmed and suspected cases in provinces across the country, which you can find on the website (nhc.gov.cn). We started doing this from Jan. 20 and we will continue to release the information every day for as long as necessary, including during the Spring Festival period. Thanks.
As we all know, back in 2003, the emergence of "super-spreaders" of the SARS virus caused a rapid deterioration of the situation. Reports said that up to 14 healthcare workers were infected by a single patient, who was confirmed as a "super-spreader" of the novel coronavirus. Does that mean that the appearance of "super-spreaders" due to the mutation of the virus, will cause a large-scale outbreak of the disease? Will this disease then turn into a SARS-like epidemic?
The media is very interested in the technical issues and have raised many professional questions. Mr. Gao will share the relevant information with you.
This is a good question. About two or three years ago, a journal explained the relationship between the emergence of SARS and MERS, and the "super-spreaders". I just mentioned that there are ongoing attempts to learn more about this new type of coronavirus. So (for now) there's no evidence to support the idea that there are already "super-spreaders". You know that MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) occurred in the Middle East, and no "super-spreaders" were found there. But when the virus spread to South Korea, it was said that there was a "super spreader", otherwise there could not have been over 180 cases of MERS and 38 deaths. This is a scientific issue that we will keep monitoring closely.
Your question also highlights a very important direction in which our work to prevent and control the virus is headed in.