Lockdown in Wuhan may have caused more infections, says expert

Shoppers at a food store in Wuhan, in China's Hubei province. Epidemiologist Ian Lipkin believes there is a chance that, by mass quarantining individuals, healthy patients could have come into contact with those who are infected but asymptomatic, whi
Shoppers at a food store in Wuhan, in China's Hubei province. Epidemiologist Ian Lipkin believes there is a chance that, by mass quarantining individuals, healthy patients could have come into contact with those who are infected but asymptomatic, which could have led to the virus spreading more widely.PHOTO: REUTERS

The lockdown in Wuhan has possibly led to more people contracting the coronavirus because of people being in proximity with each other, said a top epidemiologist yesterday, warning that cases could spike later this month as more people return to work and school in China.

Dr Ian Lipkin, who is also advising the Chinese government on handling the outbreak, said there are concerns the virus, which is highly contagious, could recur seasonally like the flu, warning that a "worst-case scenario" could see a third of the world's population being infected.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2020, with the headline 'Lockdown in Wuhan may have caused more infections, says expert'. Subscribe