China coronavirus: 2,000 infected and more than 50 dead

Katie Ramirez
January 26, 2020

An additional 12 teams of more than 1,600 medical staff will be sent to Hubei Province where the local medical system was overwhelmed by the novel coronavirus outbreak, Ma said, adding that the medical staff will be sent out shortly and authorities are also coordinating supplies urgently needed to control the outbreak.

More than 1,300 cases have been confirmed worldwide from the outbreak, and 41 people have died, including a 62-year-old doctor at a Wuhan hospital who contracted the virus from a patient, state media reports.

There are no confirmed cases of the SARS-like coronavirus in the country yet, but Canadian health officials say they will continue to test individuals with symptoms and screen travellers at global airports.

There are now more than 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus outside of China. Singapore and South Korea each reported one new case Sunday, while Thailand reported three new cases.

China's biggest holiday, Lunar New Year, unfolded Saturday in the shadow of the virus.

The newly-identified coronavirus has created alarm because there are still many unknowns surrounding it, such as how risky it is and how easily it spreads between people.

Transport restrictions are now spreading to many parts of the entire central china region. A spokesman for the province said numerous coronavirus symptoms are similar to those of seasonal influenza, but patients will be tested out of an abundance of caution.

That's because unlike with SARS, the coronavirus is infectious during its one-to-14-day incubation period, China's National Health Commissioner, Ma Xiaowei, said at a Sunday press conference, Reuters reported.

The Foreign Office has issued new travel advice over the coronavirus outbreak in China.

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He said it was a priority for the government, the Communist party and the country to contain the situation and urged the public to follow the government's lead to help control the spread of the virus, according to state media.

The warning comes as China announced Friday that it is swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to patients infected with the coronavirus.

On January 17, as a second death is reported in Wuhan, health authorities in the United States announce the start of screening at three airports of passengers arriving from the city.

Worldwide, an estimated 2,000 people, nearly all of them in China, have been sickened by the virus, Reuters reported.

The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus that killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in 2002-03 also has been traced to wild animals, with scientists saying it likely originated in bats, later reaching humans via civets.

French automaker PSA Group said it will evacuate its employees from Wuhan, quarantine them and then bring them to France.

The country's most important celebration has been all but canceled for at least 56 million people as authorities expanded travel bans across central Hubei province to try and contain the spread of the virus. The city has said the first is expected to be completed February 3. It can develop into pneumonia, which can be fatal.

The rapid increase in reported deaths and illnesses does not necessarily mean the crisis is getting worse but could reflect better monitoring and reporting of the virus. Beijing says a section of the Great Wall and other famous landmarks will also be closed.

It is not clear how lethal the new coronavirus is or even whether it is as risky as the ordinary flu, which kills tens of thousands of people every year in the US alone.

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