41 dead from China coronavirus, 1300 cases

Laverne Higgins
January 25, 2020

A teenager was taken to hospital showing signs of the coronavirus after landing at Sydney Airport overnight.

Paramedics and doctors were forced to wear protective clothing and face masks to guard against being infected themselves.

Health leaders from around the world are continuing to monitor the spread of the coronavirus, now responsible for the deaths more than 2 dozen people in China.

Apart from the three confirmed cases, the other travellers tested negative for the virus and were sent back to China on Saturday morning, said Minister Dzulkefly. Hubei, the province where Wuhan is located, saw 39 deaths as a result of infection, according to data released by local governments.

The Lunar New Year is one of the most important dates in the calendar in China, where millions of people travel home - something that is a problem for preventing the spread of a virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus an "emergency in China" this week but stopped short of declaring it of worldwide concern.

China is in lockdown, with public celebrations cancelled in major cities.

As the city slides into isolation, pharmacies have begun to run out of supplies and hospitals have been flooded with nervous residents.

The city will build a second dedicated hospital to treat patients, state media the People's Daily reported on Saturday.

Wuhan is throwing up a 1,000-bed prefabricated hospital to deal with the crisis, to be completed February 3.

Despite the lockdown, the virus is already spreading further afield. Australia and Malaysia reported their first cases Saturday and Japan, its third.

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France has identified two cases of the deadly new coronavirus from China, the first cases in Europe.

The Snohomish County man who has the United States' first known case of the virus returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on January 15 after traveling solo in Wuhan since November.

Most of the fatalities have been elderly people, many with pre-existing conditions, the World Health Organization said. Things here are becoming more risky day by day and it might be even more hard to get out of Wuhan in the coming days than it is at present.

Health officials are now monitoring 63 patients across 22 states.

The Department of Health said it is trying to find "as many passengers as we can" who travelled to Britain from Wuhan - the region most affected by the outbreak - in the past two weeks, with health officials working with Border Force agents and airlines to track them down.

Airports worldwide are screening passengers arriving from China, with the USA warning travellers to exercise increased caution in China.

It has since been confirmed to be a new strain of the coronavirus - 2019-nCoV or Novel Coronavirus.

Human coronaviruses can cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. It can also cause fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About two dozen cases in all have been confirmed outside mainland China, almost all of them in Asia: Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal, Australia and Malaysia.

The WHO said on Thursday it was a "bit too early" to designate the outbreak a public health emergency of global concern, which would require countries to step up their response.

But the US health-care system has a lot more experience combating the flu, said Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state's health-care officer and the chief science officer.

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