Countries including Japan, Australia and the US have adopted screening measures for those arriving from China due to concerns about a global outbreak like that caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002 and 2003 and killed nearly 800 people. An analysis from Imperial College London last week estimated the number of cases in Wuhan was probably around 1,700 – but could even be as high as 4,500.
Officials confirmed on 21 January 2020 that an American man in Washington state has been infected with the deadly and contagious coronavirus spreading from China, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The first US patient is a resident of the US in his 30s, located north of Seattle, who is currently hospitalised and in ‘good’ condition, but being closely monitored in isolation at Providence Regional Medical Center – Everett. He traveled from Wuhan, but did not visit any of the markets at the epicentre of the outbreak, according to state health officials. The man arrived in the US on 15 January, the day before screening was in place, and before he developed symptoms, but the man reportedly recognised his own symptoms – which typically include cough, fever and runny nose – after seeing online coverage of the virus. The patient reached out to doctors on 16 January, was tested and his diagnosis was confirmed Monday, health officials said.
On the heels of the identification of this first US patient, all flights from Wuhan into the US are being rerouted to the three airports set up last week for screening – LAX, San Francisco and JFK – as well as an additional two locations: Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
With the addition of the US, the newly-identified coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, has now spread to five countries, including Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and possibly to Mexico and Australia.
It remains unclear how many people the patient may have come into contact with, but officials say they are working to trace his travel and contacts. Officials in China have confirmed that the SARS-like coronavirus, which can trigger life-threatening respiratory infections, can and has been passed from human to human, including through saliva.
Adding to the difficulty of screening for the virus, its primary symptoms – cough, fever, runny nose – are similar to those of the flu, which is at near-peak levels in the US.
Taiwan today confirmed its first case of the lethal bug, which has killed 17 people in the Chinese city of Wuhan, home to 11million people.
- A total of 532 people have fallen ill worldwide, including 20 healthcare workers
- Cases have risen six-fold in the space of a few days, with just 48 confirmed cases on January 17
- Australia and the Philippines are investigating suspected cases of the coronavirus, which causes a fever and can cause pneumonia
- North Korea has temporarily banned all tourists from entering the country over fears the Chinese coronavirus will spread
- South Korean budget airline T’way Air has postponed the launch of its cheap flights to Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak
- Experts from China’s National Health Commission have urged Wuhan’s 11 million residents not to leave the city
- The World Health Organisation will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss making the outbreak a public health emergency
- A leading expert has said the coronavirus may have been lurking in animals for decades before adapting to infect humans
- A renowned Chinese doctor investigating the outbreak has caught the killer SARS-like infection himself
- Countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Malaysia have upped their screening methods to detect travellers with a fever in airports
- Shocking footage captured medics wearing hazmat suits screening Air China passengers for the virus before letting them leave
- Residents in various Chinese cities are queuing to buy face masks as vendors sell the medical products for 10 times more than normal
- Public health officials in the UK have instructed NHS hospitals on how to deal with cases amid fears the virus will spread
- The US National Institutes of Health is working on a vaccine against the virus – but it will be months before it can be tested on humans
- One virologist admitted he was scared the virus will spread over the Lunar New Year holidays, with millions of Chinese residents set to travel
- Another renowned scientist described the coronavirus as being ‘one of the newest and biggest global health threats’
- Stock markets in China and Hong Kong dipped amid fears tourists will refrain from travelling, despite people being urged not to panic
Professor Zhong Nanshan, leader of the National Health Commission’s expert team, revealed the virus is likely to be spread by saliva in a press conference. He told the meeting: ‘As of now, it is affirmative that the new strain of coronavirus can be passed between humans. ‘The virus is spread through respiratory system and distance of impact is not long, but it is possible that the virus was passed after being stuck to saliva.’
Professor Zhong said officials must ‘quarantine the patients and stop them from contacting others’. Antibiotics will not tackle the virus because the drugs only work on bacterial infections. And he added that the outbreak will not spread like SARS, so long as patients are quarantined immediately and their contacts are traced.
Quarantine workers spray disinfect at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. South Korea confirmed its first case on January 20 after a 35-year-old woman arriving at Seoul’s Incheon airport tested positive for the virus.
A South Korean budget airline has also announced it will postpone the launch of its cheap flights to Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak. South Korea confirmed its first case on January 20 after a 35-year-old woman arriving at Seoul’s Incheon airport tested positive for the virus. She had been in Wuhan last week. Officials said she did not have an obvious source of infection, adding that she had not visited any wet markets and wasn’t in contact with any known cases.
North Korea has temporarily banned all tourists from entering the country over fears the Chinese coronavirus will spread, according to reports this afternoon.
The outbreak is believed to have started late last month among people connected to a seafood market in Wuhan, where all six fatalities have happened.
Australian officials announced a traveller had been placed in quarantine with symptoms of the virus after returning home from a trip to China. The man is being kept at his home in Brisbane as he awaits test results for the virus. Earlier tests were inconclusive, Queensland health chiefs said. It is understood the man arrived in Australia via Sydney International Airport. He had been visiting family in China’s Wuhan province, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus, the Courier Mail reported.
The Philippines also announced that it was investigating its first potential case of the coronavirus. A five-year-old child arrived in the country on January 12 from Wuhan and has since been hospitalised with flu symptoms. While the child tested positive for a virus, authorities in Manila said they were not sure if it was the same one that has killed six people in China.
While there is nothing to suggest at this stage they have the respiratory illness, the UK’s chief medical officer has said there is a “fair chance” Britain will see cases emerge. France has said two people have tested positive for the virus – which will be the first confirmed cases in Europe – while in the US, a second case has also been identified. Cities across China remain on lockdown as the death toll for the new coronavirus outbreak has risen to 26.
It is reported on 22 January 2020 that the deadly Wuhan coronavirus, officially called 2019-nCoV, has killed 17 people and infected at least 554 others in China as of Wednesday. The US confirmed its first case, a man in his 30s in Washington state who had visited China.
Coronavirus – China (2019-nCoV)