The thousands of coronavirus cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the center of the epidemic, is likely “just the tip of the iceberg,” a medical expert said.

David Hui Shu-cheong, a professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the official count of 5,000 only reflects severe cases of the virus where patients have been admitted to a hospital, the South China Morning Post reported.

“There are many community cases that remain undiagnosed — unlike in Hong Kong, where cases are more carefully handled, including the mild ones,” Hui said.

Li Lanjuan, China’s National Health Commission’s coronavirus committee, said that lack of supplies are preventing the country from doing more aggressive tests for the virus, according to state media.

Li said Monday that that “not everyone can get tested” since there are not enough testing kits.

“Early detection, early diagnosis, early isolation and early treatment cannot be done in Wuhan at the moment,” Li said. “I hope that the country can support Wuhan [more].”

Patients transferred to Huoshenshan hospital in Wuhan
Medical workers transfer patients to the newly completed Huoshenshan temporary field Hospital in Wuhan on Tuesday.

EPA

Wuhan starts offering more isolation facilities to control the nCoV spread
CDC workers examine their findings while collecting biomaterial from suspected 2019-nCoV patients in a hotel for isolated people in Wuhan.

EPA

The virus has killed 425 people in China and infected more than 20,000 others.

Most of the deaths have been in the Hubei province, which contains the city of Wuhan and where the virus was first detected in December.

With Post wires