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    China Confirms First Coronavirus Infections Outside Wuhan

    Three patients have tested positive for the virus in Beijing and Shenzhen, and 136 new cases — including a third death — were confirmed in Wuhan over the weekend.

    Update: On Monday evening, the official Xinhua News Agency said that the total number of coronavirus infections in the country had climbed to 217, including 198 in Wuhan, 14 in Guangdong, and five in Beijing. Shortly after the update, the National Health Commission confirmed the first case in Shanghai.

    Two people in Beijing and one in Shenzhen have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, the cities’ health commissions said Monday. The announcements mark the first time the virus has been officially confirmed in mainland cities other than Wuhan since the outbreak began last month.

    According to the Shenzhen Health Commission, a 66-year-old man tested positive for the virus after traveling to Wuhan on Dec. 29 to visit his family. Before returning to Shenzhen on Jan. 4, he experienced fever and weakness. He was hospitalized a week after arriving in the southern city, and his biosample was sent to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, where it tested positive on Jan. 19 for the Wuhan coronavirus.

    Beijing’s health commission, meanwhile, confirmed two infections in the city’s southern Daxing District. Both patients had traveled to Wuhan and experienced fever-like symptoms.

    The three patients in Shenzhen and Beijing are reportedly in stable condition, and their close contacts are under medical observation.

    Also on Monday, the health commission in the eastern Zhejiang province announced five suspected cases of coronavirus infections in four cities: Wenzhou, Zhoushan, Taizhou, and Hangzhou, the provincial capital. The five patients — all of whom traveled to Wuhan and returned with flu-like symptoms — have been quarantined and are in stable condition, the commission said.

    As infections are starting to be diagnosed in other Chinese cities, Wuhan’s health commission publicly confirmed its third coronavirus-related death Monday, following two earlier deaths on Jan. 9 and Jan. 15.

    In a dramatic turn, Wuhan health authorities on Monday confirmed 136 new infections diagnosed over the weekend, bringing the total number of infections in the city to 198. Of these patients, three have died, 35 are in “serious condition,” nine are in “very serious condition,” 25 have recovered and been discharged, and 126 are hospitalized with mild symptoms.

    All of the 136 new cases — 66 men and 70 women — experienced symptoms before Jan. 18. The patients range in age from 25 to 89 years old.

    China’s National Health Commission said Sunday that it has established a national reporting mechanism for coronavirus infections, and that public updates will be published every day, even if there are no new developments.

    Infections in other Asian countries also appear to be on the rise. South Korea confirmed its first Wuhan coronavirus case Monday morning, becoming the third country in which the disease has been found, following two cases in Thailand and one in Japan.

    The South China Morning Post reported Saturday that a suspected case has been detected in Shanghai, citing sources familiar with the matter. The city’s mayor, Ying Yong, said in a press conference Monday morning that local authorities are dealing with suspected infections and will provide up-to-date information in the event of confirmed cases.

    Editor: David Paulk.

    (Header image: Dreamstime/Tuchong)