• Few signs of extra precautions visible in Wuhan city on Saturday despite spike in number of infections the previous day
  • Medical experts have warned authorities to be on high alert for new strain of virus and learn lessons from SARS outbreak

The Chinese city at the centre of an outbreak of an unidentified strain of viral pneumonia appeared calm on Saturday, with few signs of alarm.  Concerns mounted on Friday after the authorities said the number affected by the virus had risen to 44 people, 11 of whom were in a serious condition.

This marked an increase from 27 cases reported just three days earlier and medical experts have said the Chinese health authorities should be on high alert for a possible new strain of virus and learn from the deadly 2002 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

On Friday night, hours after Hong Kong – four and a half hours away by high-speed rail – raised its response mechanism for infectious diseases to “serious”, there was no sign of precautions such as body temperature check points or extra medical staff at Wuhan’s airport.

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