Government brief on coronavirus outbreak: source confirmed, no super-spreaders
Updated: January 23, 2020 16:31 CGTN

The State Council Information Office held a news conference on Jan 22, inviting Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, and several other officials and experts to provide updates on prevention and control of the novel coronavirus-related pneumonia and answer questions from journalists.

Here are some answers to crucial questions about the outbreak:

Q1: Why is there a dramatic rise in the number of confirmed cases lately? Is it because of some new testing methods?

A: (Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

It is a fact that the number of confirmed cases is increasing, and yes, we are using new testing methods. Developing our knowledge of the new virus is also a gradual process.

Q2: Is the new coronavirus more contagious and virulent than SARS and MERS?

A: (Zhong Nanshan, the expert who discovered the SARS virus during an outbreak in China in 2003)

It's not as contagious and virulent as SARS. I think there's a difference between the severity and the spread of the disease between the new coronavirus and SARS.

A: (Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Including the new one, there are altogether seven coronaviruses that can infect humans. Of the six already known, four are lowly pathogenic to humans, and everyone knows the other two — SARS and MERS — are quite serious. We are still learning about the new virus.

Q3: How can we contain the virus during the Spring Festival holiday?

A: (Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission)

Because of the high personnel mobility during the Spring Festival, China has raised the epidemic prevention and control to a national level and made institutional arrangements.

Governments at all levels in China and various departments have strengthened the implementation of various prevention and control measures. It is recommended that people outside Wuhan should not go to the city, and Wuhan residents should not leave the city without special circumstances.

Q4: What do we know so far about the new type of coronavirus, such as its origin, incubation period and severity?

A: (Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

We are still in the process of learning more about this virus. It appears to have some characteristics of common coronaviruses but also exhibits some special features. We have confirmed it was transmitted via wild animals illegally sold at a seafood market in Wuhan.

At first, it was spread from animals to humans. However, the virus has since been mutating and has become adaptive to its host. Human-to-human transmission has occurred, and there has been some community transmission. That is to say, it has gone through three stages.

We are still deepening the study on it. So far, children and young people are less likely to be infected.

Q5: Are there super-spreaders of the coronavirus? As we all know, back in 2003, the emergence of super-spreaders of SARS caused the rapid deterioration of the situation. Will this disease turn out to be another SARS-like epidemic?

A: (Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

There's no evidence to support the idea there are already super-spreaders. This is a scientific issue that we will keep monitoring closely. It's also a very important direction that guides us in the prevention and control of the virus.

Note: A super-spreader is a highly contagious virus carrier. It could infect more secondary contacts than other hosts who are also infected with the same disease.

Q6: A study by a UK university estimated that 2,000 people have been infected in China. Have you ever predicted the number of infected people who are not being treated?

A: (Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

I think any question like that must be based on science. First of all, the calculation, which I also read, is a mathematical model. The number you just asked about is the highest estimate that the model has predicted. In order to know the exact casualty caused by a new virus, facts should be ascertained by the available numbers and it should not be based on theories.

What we've learned about the real situation is not in line with the model by the British scientist.

Q7: Was early information disclosure insufficient? Has the government concealed some part of the whole picture?

A: (Xu Shuqiang, director of the Emergency Management Office at the National Health Commission)

We attach great importance to information disclosure. After the outbreak, the National Health Commission directed the Wuhan Municipal Health Committee to release the latest situation on Dec 31, 2019, and Jan 3, 5, and 9, 2020.

As the situation has changed, daily updates started on Jan 11. On Jan 9, the National Health Commission instantly released the finding that the pathogen is a new type of coronavirus.

Recently, cases have been reported in areas outside Wuhan, Hubei province. In order to inform the public of the latest, accurate and comprehensive situation, the commission has been collecting and publishing the number of confirmed and suspected cases in various provinces across the country daily, starting from Jan 20, which can be found on our official website. The daily updates will continue, including during the Spring Festival holiday, until it is no longer needed.

Copyright© | About us | Contact us

Website Identification Code bm01000001 Registration Number: 05070218

All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to

Without written authorization from, such content shall not be republished or used in any form.



Copyright© | Contact us

Website Identification Code bm01000001

Registration Number: 05070218