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Sicker for longer: doctor warns of new symptoms for China’s latest COVID-19 patients

Beijing: Chinese doctors are seeing the coronavirus manifest differently among patients in its new cluster of cases in the northeast region compared to the original outbreak in Wuhan, suggesting that the pathogen may be changing in unknown ways.

Patients found in the northern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang appear to carry the virus for a longer period of time and take longer to recover, as defined by a negative test, Qiu Haibo, one of China’s top critical care doctors, told state television on Tuesday.

A medical worker collects a sample for COVID-19 testing at the Tongji community in Shulan in China's Jilin Province.

A medical worker collects a sample for COVID-19 testing at the Tongji community in Shulan in China’s Jilin Province. Credit:Xinhua

Cases in the northeast also appear to be taking longer than the one to two weeks observed in Wuhan to develop symptoms after infection, and this delayed onset is making it harder for authorities to catch cases before they spread, said Qiu, who is now in the northern region treating patients.

“The longer period during which infected patients show no symptoms has created clusters of family infections,” said Qiu, who was earlier sent to Wuhan to help in the original outbreak. Some 46 cases have been reported over the past two weeks spread across three cities – Shulan, Jilin city and Shengyang – in two provinces, a resurgence that sparked renewed lockdown measures over a region of 100 million people.

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