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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus cases are not rising dramatically outside China despite a spike in Hubei province.

The only exception was on the Diamond Princess cruise liner docked in Japan, where 44 new cases were reported, bringing the total there to 218.

According to the WHO, there was also no major shift in the coronavirus’s pattern of mortality or severity.

On February 12, Hubei recorded 242 deaths, the deadliest day of the outbreak.

There was also a huge increase in cases, with 14,840 people diagnosed but most of this was down to Hubei using a broader definition to diagnose people, said Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program.

He said: “This does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak.”

Outside China there had been two deaths and 447 cases in 24 countries, he said.

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China Coronavirus: Lockdowns Across Hubei Province
China Coronavirus: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

On February 13, Japan announced its first coronavirus death – a woman in her 80s who lived in Kanagawa, south-west of Tokyo.

The woman’s diagnosis was confirmed after her death and she had no obvious link to China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, Japanese media reported.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship is in quarantine in Yokohama. Not all the 3,700 people on board have been tested yet.

People with the virus are taken to hospitals on land to be treated, while those on board are largely confined to their cabins.

On February 13, Japan said it would allow those aged 80 or over who have tested negative for the coronavirus to disembark.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said they could be allowed off the ship as early as February 14 but would have to stay in accommodation provided by the government, the Japan Times reported.

Meanwhile another cruise ship – the MS Westerdam – carrying more than 2,000 people docked in Cambodia after being turned away by ports in Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand despite having no sick patients on board.

Until February 13 increases, the number of people with the virus in Hubei was stabilizing.

The new cases and deaths in the province have pushed the national death toll above 1,350 with almost 60,000 infections in total.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said there had been “surprise” in the US at the new cases.

He said: “We’re a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese, these numbers are jumping around.”

The Trump administration was also disappointed that China had not accepted a US offer to send experts to help China respond to the outbreak, Larry Kudlow said.

China sacked two top officials in Hubei province hours after the new figures were revealed.

Only Hubei province – which accounts for more than 80% of overall Chinese infections – is using the new definition to diagnose new cases.

The spread of the deadly coronavirus is accelerating, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned, after holding a special government meeting on the Lunar New Year public holiday.

China is facing a “grave situation” President Xi told senior officials.

The new virus has killed at least 56 people and infected almost 2,000 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan.

Meanwhile, the US has announced that staff at the Wuhan consulate will be evacuated on a special flight on January 28.

According to the State Department, private Americans most at risk will also be able to board the flight to San Francisco.

Meanwhile, UK-based researchers have warned of a real possibility that China will not be able to contain the virus.

Travel restrictions have come in place in several affected cities. From January 26, private vehicles will be banned from central districts of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak.

According to Chinese state newspaper the People’s Daily, a second emergency hospital is to be built there within weeks to handle 1,300 new patients, and will be finished in half a month. It is the second such rapid construction project: work on another 1,000-bed hospital has already begun.

China Coronavirus: Lockdowns Across Hubei Province

China Coronavirus: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

China Virus: CDC Confirms First Case of Coronavirus Infection on US Territory

Specialist military medical teams have also been flown into Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

The urgency reflects concern both within China and elsewhere about the virus which first appeared in December.

Lunar New Year celebrations for the year of the rat, which began on January 25, have been canceled in many Chinese cities.

Across mainland China, travelers are having their temperatures checked for signs of fever, and train stations have been shut in several cities.

Hong Kong has declared the highest level of emergency and school holidays were extended.

Several other nations are each dealing with a handful of cases, with patients being treated in isolation.

A coronavirus is a family of viruses which include the common cold.

However, this virus has never been seen before. It is called 2019-nCov, for “novel coronavirus”.

New viruses can become common in humans after jumping across the species barrier from animals.

The SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] outbreak of 2003 started in bats and transferred to the civet cat which passed it on to humans.

This new Chinese virus also causes severe acute respiratory infection.

Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.

There is no specific cure or vaccine.

Based on early information, it is believed that only a quarter of infected cases are “severe”, and the dead are mostly – though not exclusively – older people, some of whom have pre-existing conditions.

The Chinese authorities suspect a seafood market that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals” was the source of the outbreak.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The new virus discovered in China, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses, but only six (the new one would make it seven) are known to infect people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people to avoid “unprotected” contact with live animals, thoroughly cook meat and eggs, and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe disease. It’s not yet clear how bad this new coronavirus is.

If a patient has recovered from the infection, they should not pose a significant risk to others and can be sent home from hospital provided they are well enough.

The first human cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

There have not been any other suspected human cases reported prior to this.

China Virus: CDC Confirms First Case of Coronavirus Infection on US Territory

Given the type of virus, the incubation period (how long it takes for symptoms to appear after catching the infection) is days, rather than weeks.

It is not yet known how or when the virus became infectious to people.

Experts believe the first cases were transmitted by an animal.

At the moment, there is no vaccine that can protect people against this type of coronavirus, but researchers are looking to develop one.

It is a new strain that hasn’t been seen in humans before, which means doctors still have lots to learn about it.

Based on currently available information, the WHO has not recommended any restrictions on travel or trade.

You should re-check the latest travel advice before you depart.

Extra airport checks such as temperature scans have been put in place to screen some travelers in some countries/states.

Airports in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo have been screening air passengers from Wuhan and US authorities last week announced similar measures at three major airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

It is not yet known how the virus was transmitted. Other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, came from cats and camels respectively.

Experts are working to find the source.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection apply. These include:

  • regular hand washing
  • covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • thoroughly cooking meat and eggs

Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

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A new research suggests that dromedary camels could be responsible for passing to humans the deadly MERS coronavirus that emerged last year.

Tests have shown the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus, or one that is very closely related, has been circulating in the animals, offering a potential route for the spread.

The study is published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

But the scientists say more research is needed to confirm the findings.

The MERS coronavirus first emerged in the Middle East last year. So far, there have been 94 confirmed cases and 46 deaths.

While there has been evidence of the virus spreading between humans, most cases are thought to have been caused by contact with an animal. But until now, scientists have struggled to work out which one.

To investigate, an international team looked at blood samples taken from livestock animals, including camels, sheep, goats and cows, from a number of different countries.

Dromedary camels could be responsible for passing to humans the deadly MERS coronavirus

Dromedary camels could be responsible for passing to humans the deadly MERS coronavirus

They tested them for antibodies – the proteins produced to fight infections – which can remain in the blood long after a virus has gone.

Professor Marion Koopmans, from the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment and Erasmus University in The Netherlands, said: “We did find antibodies that we think are specific for the MERS coronavirus or a virus that looks very similar to the MERS coronavirus in dromedary camels.”

The team found low levels of antibodies in 15 out of 105 camels from the Canary Islands and high levels in each of the 50 camels tested in Oman, suggesting the virus was circulating more recently.

“Antibodies point to exposure at some time in the life of those animals,” Prof. Marion Koopmans explained.

No human cases of the MERS virus have been reported in Oman or the Canary Islands, and the researchers say they now need to test more widely to see if the infection is present elsewhere.

This would include taking samples from camels in Saudi Arabia, the country where the virus is the most prevalent.

Prof. Marion Koopmans said: “It is a smoking gun, but it is not definitive proof.”

Health officials say confirming where the virus comes from is important, but then understanding how humans get infected is a priority.

Gregory Hartl, from the World Health Organization, said: “Only if we know what actions and interactions by humans lead to infection, can we work to prevent these infections.”

Data suggests that it is not yet infectious enough to pose a global threat and is still at a stage where its spread could be halted.

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The new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, which has killed half of those infected, is “unlikely” to reach the same scale as SARS, ministers in Saudi Arabia say.

Most of the 90 MERS cases reported so far have been in Saudi Arabia.

MERS is from the same group of viruses as the common cold and SARS, which killed 774 people.

However, a detailed analysis of the Saudi cases, published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, did warn of “major gaps” in understanding of the virus.

The MERS coronavirus emerged in 2012 and has infected 90 people worldwide, 45 of them have died.

MERS is from the same group of viruses as the common cold and SARS, which killed 774 people

MERS is from the same group of viruses as the common cold and SARS, which killed 774 people

The global concern is that cases could spread much further, echoing the SARS outbreak.

Cases have been centered on the Middle East – with patients in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Additional cases in France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the UK have all been linked to travel to the Middle East.

Researchers in Saudi Arabia have published details of the 47 cases reported in the country.

They suggest a pattern of mostly older men being infected. Most cases were also in people with other medical problems, more than two-thirds of the reported cases also had diabetes.

The lead researcher and Deputy Minister for Public Health, Prof. Ziad Memish, said: “Despite sharing some clinical similarities with SARS, there are also some important differences.

“In contrast to SARS, which was much more infectious especially in healthcare settings and affected the healthier and the younger age group, MERS appears to be more deadly, with 60% of patients with co-existing chronic illnesses dying, compared with the 1% toll of SARS.

“Although this high mortality rate with MERS is probably spurious due to the fact that we are only picking up severe cases and missing a significant number of milder or asymptomatic cases.

“So far there is little to indicate that MERS will follow a similar path to SARS.”

However, the latest Saudi investigation both highlighted the need to find where the virus was coming from.

Prof. Ziad Memish’s report said: “Reducing the rate of introduction of MERS coronavirus into human beings is unpredictable because the source of the virus is not yet known.

“We are searching vigorously for the source.”

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it appears likely that the new coronavirus (NCoV) can be passed between people in close contact.

This comes after the French health ministry confirmed a second man had contracted the virus in a possible case of human-to-human transmission.

Two more people in Saudi Arabia are also reported to have died from the virus, according to health officials.

NCoV is known to cause pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure.

WHO officials have expressed concern over the clusters of cases of the new coronavirus strain and the potential for it to spread.

Since 2012, there have been 33 confirmed cases across Europe and the Middle East, with 18 deaths, according to a recent WHO update.

Cases have been detected in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and have spread to Germany, the UK and France.

“Of most concern… is the fact that the different clusters seen in multiple countries increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact this novel coronavirus can transmit from person to person,” the WHO said on Sunday.

French health ministry confirmed a second man contracted the new coronavirus in a possible case of human-to-human transmission

French health ministry confirmed a second man contracted the new coronavirus in a possible case of human-to-human transmission

“This pattern of person-to-person transmission has remained limited to some small clusters and so far, there is no evidence to suggest the virus has the capacity to sustain generalized transmission in communities,” the statement adds.

France’s second confirmed case was a 50-year-old man who had shared a hospital room in Valenciennes, northern France, with a 65-year-old who fell ill with the virus after returning from Dubai.

“Positive results [for the virus] have been confirmed for both patients,” the French health ministry said, adding that both men were being treated in isolation wards.

Meanwhile, the Saudi deputy minister of health said on Sunday that two more people had died from the coronavirus, bringing the number of fatalities to nine in the al-Ahsa governorate in the east of Saudi Arabia, Reuters news agency reports.

WHO officials have not yet confirmed the latest deaths.

In February, a patient died in a hospital in Birmingham, England, after three members of the same family became infected.

It is thought a family member had picked up the virus while travelling to the Middle East and Pakistan.

Novel coronavirus is from the same family of viruses as the one that caused an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that emerged in Asia in 2003.

However, NCoV and SARS are distinct from each other, the WHO said in its statement on Sunday.

Coronavirus is known to cause respiratory infections in both humans and animals.

But it is not yet clear whether it is a mutation of an existing virus or an infection in animals that has made the jump to humans.

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