China Reports Nearly Half a Million People Have Had Close Contact with Coronavirus Patients

WASHINGTON – China’s National Health Commission reported this week that nearly half a million Chinese citizens have had close contact with individuals with confirmed diagnoses of the novel coronavirus that originated in the central city of Wuhan.

“So far, 451,462 people have been identified as having had close contact with infected patients. There are now 185,037 people under medical observation,” the Health Commission reported Wednesday on its official website.

The figures suggest the previously unknown respiratory disease, labeled by international health officials as COVID-19, has considerable capacity to spread far beyond the 59,804 cases so far confirmed in China as of Thursday. They also indicated a dramatic increase in the number of people who have been in direct contact with an infected person, which stood at 189,583 in a report from the same commission on Feb. 3.

The Commission started publishing the Daily Briefing on the latest developments in China on that date.

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