|Gabriel Leung (left) says there could be as many as 44,000 cases in Wuhan|
And it would be pretty justified to stay in considering the mounting fears of the Wuhan coronavirus spreading faster and further than currently reported.
This afternoon infectious disease experts from the University of Hong Kong estimate that the number of patients in Wuhan had reached 43,590 by Saturday, including those in the incubation stage of the virus, which causes pneumonia.
|The Wuhan market that maybe ground zero for the coronavirus|
The big issue is that unlike SARS, the Wuhan coronavirus is difficult to detect because it is infectious during the incubation period, and that those who are infected may not show any symptoms like elevated temperatures.
If there are 44,000 cases in Wuhan alone, how many could there be nationwide and worldwide?
Leung and his team's research showed self-sustaining human-to-human transmission was already happening in all major mainland cities and warned a pandemic might be close.
|The Forbidden City in Beijing is closed indefinitely|
The team's model predicted the number of infections in five mainland megacities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing, would peak between late April and early May. At that time, as many as 150,000 new cases could be confirmed everyday in Chongqing because of its large population and the intense travel volume with Wuhan.
Leung said the estimates could be too pessimistic, as it only took into account the lockdown in Wuhan and not travel and health advisories in other cities and provinces, but in the meantime he is advising the Hong Kong government to take more severe measures to stop the virus from coming into the city and spreading.
"So, the question is not whether or not to do more... Yes, we must do more. The question really is, how can we make sure that is feasible, implementable and enforceable," he said, adding the government's task now was to study practical plans, like the logistics of importing food and supplies.
|Premier Li Keqiang visited medical staff, patients in Wuhan|
Maybe shops will have supplies by Wednesday when business is supposedly back to normal after Chinese New Year?