Third case of coronavirus confirmed as eight-year-old boy

Katie Ramirez
February 12, 2020

The overall number of people infected with pneumonia caused by the new type of coronavirus in China has reached 20,438, a total of 425 people have died, China's state health committee said in a statement.

Hong Kong was badly hit by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that emerged from China in 2002 and killed nearly 800 people around the world.

Germany's Lufthansa became the latest worldwide airline to suspend flights to China, and several countries are barring Chinese travellers or people who passed through China recently.

Coronavirus Cases have now been reported in more than 20 countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the flu-like virus a global emergency and experts say much is still unknown about the pathogen, including its mortality rate and transmission routes.

China's Communist leadership made a rare admission of fallibility earlier this week, acknowledging "shortcomings and difficulties exposed in the response to the epidemic".

"It is necessary to strengthen market supervision, resolutely ban and severely crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade", it added.

The territory's beleaguered leader, Carrie Lam, criticized the strike and said the government was doing all it could to limit the flow of people across the border.

Wuhan is converting buildings from gymnasiums to sports centres for use as hospitals for up to 10,000 people, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

But it has continued to spread with Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand on Tuesday reporting new infections that were not imported from China.

All workers wore masks, as mandated by the authorities for the entire population of Wuhan, and were checked for fevers during their breaks.

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By the end of Tuesday, a total of 490 people had died after being infected and 24,324 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions, China's National Health Commission reported.

A specially constructed hospital in Wuhan, designed with 1,000 beds, opened to patients on Monday, while the building of a second hospital, with 1,600 beds, is also scheduled to be completed on Wednesday. But four new cases of the virus without known travel to the mainland have been reported, indicating community transmission.

The Shanghai stock market plunged nearly 8 per cent on Monday on the first day of trading since the holiday as investors played catch-up with last week's global retreat. Wuhan has thousands of foreigners as it is an education hub.

The industrial city of Wenzhou, 800km to the east, was placed under a similar lockdown to Wuhan on Sunday and its nine million people ordered to stay indoors. As the virus spread, Beijing faced global isolation with neighboring countries like North Korea Russia, Mongolia closing its borders with China.

The city is only 175 kilometers (110 miles) southwest of Shanghai, which has more than 200 cases, including one death, so far. All three patients from Kerala recently returned from the affected Wuhan city.

Train journeys were down 74 per cent on past year, according to Xinhua, and plane trips a fifth.

Currently, 647 Indians and seven Maldivians, who have been evacuated from Wuhan and Hubei are in 14-day quarantine at a medical camp in Manesar, near Delhi.

China accused the United States of spreading fear by pulling its nationals out and restricting travel instead of offering significant aid.

Yesterday, Hong Kong reported its first death from the disease, as the semi-autonomous city closed all but two land crossings with the Chinese mainland.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab advised against all but essential travel to mainland China and urged British citizens there "to leave the country if they can, to minimize their risk of exposure to the virus".

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