China reports a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases
More than 60,000 cases and 1,370 deaths have been reported worldwide. Christians in China preach the gospel and give out tracts and free masks.
WUHAN · 13 FEBRUARY 2020 · 18:00 CET
The number of deaths from coronavirus has risen to 1,367 in China up to now.
China’s National Health Commission reported 15,152 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, taking the total count to more than 60,000 cases worldwide.
The Hubei province, epicentre of the outbreak, informed about a sharp rise in coronavirus infections and deaths, with 14,840 new cases and 242 deaths only on Wednesday, almost 10 times the number reported a day earlier.
CHANGE IN DIAGNOSIS CRITERIA
Hubei changed its diagnostic criteria, after China was accused of under-reporting, to include clinical diagnoses and not just cases confirmed by laboratory tests. Now, lung imaging can be used to diagnose the virus in a suspected patient, in addition to the standard nucleic acid tests.
The rise comes after China had said the number of new cases confirmed inside the country had declined for two days in a row. There have also been three other confirmed deaths from the disease, now officially named COVID-19 - in the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong.
“CHRIST GIVES US PEACE IN THE MIDST OF DISASTER”
On February 6, Li Wenliang, the first Chinese doctor who issued a warning about the disease and was reprimanded by the police for it, died. Some Christian sources and members of underground churches in China, have pointed out that Wenliang “had known Jesus, went to Bible studies and wanted to be baptised soon”.
Meanwhile, a pastor from Wuhan wrote a letter to Christians worldwide, explaining that “the situation is very critical, yet we are trusting in the Lord’s promises, that His thoughts toward us are of peace, and not evil, and that He allows for a time of testing, not to destroy us, but to establish us”.
“Christ has already given us His peace, but His peace is not to remove us from disaster and death, but rather to have peace in the midst of disaster, because Christ has already overcome these things. Otherwise we have not believed in the gospel of peace and, with the world, would be terrified”, he added. The pastor encouraged Christians “to pray for those in this city who are fearful, and to bring to them the peace of Christ”.
Despite the difficulties, many Christians in China are preaching the gospel and giving out tracts and free masks.
The police, “who used to be concerned about the Christian message, now came to Christians for help. Christians gained the respect that they never had because of their willingness to serve”, a Christian missionary in Wuhan said.
MORE THAN 40 CASES IN EUROPE
EU Health Ministers are in Brussels for an emergency meeting. “Our baseline assumption is that the spread of the virus peaks in the first quarter of this year, and has relatively limited global spillovers”, the European Commission said.
“The longer it lasts, however, the higher the likelihood of knock-on effects on economic sentiment and global financing conditions”.
So far, there are 48 cases of COVID-19 in Europe, most of them in Germany (16), France (11) and the UK (9).