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The deadly coronavirus is getting stronger and the number of infections will continue to climb, according to Chinese officials who insist the government has not buried the scale of the crisis.
Beijing's health minister assured face-masked reporters that authorities have cranked up efforts to stop the spread of disease after conceding their knowledge of how it mutates is limited.
Ma - Xiaowei - Ability - Virus - Spread
Ma Xiaowei said 'it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger' and added that the administration will continue to curb transport links and scrap planned public gatherings.
More than 2,000 people have now been infected worldwide and 56 have been killed in China, sparking President Xi Jinping to yesterday issue an unprecedented warning of a 'grave situation'.
Health - Official - Gao - Fu - Coronavirus
Yet top health official Gao Fu said the coronavirus was 'not as powerful' as the SARS outbreak which rocked China in 2003, although it is becoming more contagious.
While SARS-infected people were only contagious when their symptoms were showing, coronavirus victims can infect others during their incubation period which can be up to 14 days.
Shadow - Morning - Press - Conference - Video
Casting a large shadow over this morning's press conference was a video of nurse battling the outbreak who claimed the government is playing down the volume of the infections and said the true figure is 90,000.
But regime authorities batted back accusations of a cover-up and insisted it had 'followed the principles of openness and transparency' since the coronavirus broke out in Wuhan, Hubei province, last week.
Move - Project - Transparency - Press - Briefings
And in a move to further project transparency, they announced daily press briefings on the threat posed by the virus starting tomorrow.
Ma said he has 'maintained close communication with the World Health Organisation' and invited inspectors to examine the country's response.
Beijing - Information - Nations - United - States
He also revealed Beijing is sharing information with other nations after the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and Canada all confirmed cases....
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