China has shut down at least 13 cities encompassing 41 million people in an attempt to contain a deadly virus that has infected hundreds of people.
Some 830 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed and 26 people have died, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.
Most cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated in a market which traded in illegal wildlife, but cases have also been confirmed in the United States, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.
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Fourteen people have been tested for the virus in the UK, with five confirmed negative and nine still awaiting results, Public Health England (PHE) said on Thursday night.
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Two Chinese citizens in Vietnam have tested positive for coronavirus.
“The ministry of health will continue to monitor for suspected symptoms at airports in Nha Trang and Danang where, many Chinese visitors arrive,” deputy health minister Nguyen Truong Son said in a ministry statement.
“All visitors from infected areas will be closely tracked and must undergo health checks”.
The father and son pair were hospitalised on on Wednesday after showing signs of fever and are being treated at the Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, the ministry said.
The father had recently arrived in Vietnam from Wuhan and had travelled to the Vietnamese capital Hanoi and the southern city of Nha Trang before being hospitalised.
A letter from the chief medical officer to clinical staff warns that the “mass movement” of people within and outside China associated with the upcoming Chinese new year celebrations may “amplify transmission”.
The letter said that anyone who is confirmed as having the virus will be transferred to a Airborne High Consequences Infectious Disease centre (HCID).
According to Public Health England, there are four interim Airborne HCID centres in England.
These are Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Cases of the new coronavirus are likely to continue to rise in China and it is too soon to evaluate its severity, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
“The focus is not so much on the (case) numbers, which we know will go up,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a Geneva news briefing.
He said Chinese health authorities had officially reported 830 confirmed cases and 25 deaths. “It’s still too early to draw conclusions on how severe the virus is.”
The WHO and its network of experts may look at treatments and vaccines against Mers for possible use against coronavirus, he added.
Some famous temples in China have closed due to the virus.
Beijing’s Lama Temple, where people traditionally go to make offerings for the new year, will close from today.
Haikou, capital of the southern resort island province of Hainan, is closing cultural and tourist facilities such as libraries and museums.
Beijing has cancelled large gatherings, including two Lunar New Year temple fairs, and closed the Forbidden City, the capital’s most famous tourist attraction, to visitors until further notice.
Some sections of China’s Great Wall near Beijing will be closed to visitors to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, state media and the Beijing government office which manages the Badaling part of the wall said.
The reconstructed Badaling section is among the most visited parts of the wall.
The government’s Cobra emergency committee will meet today to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, Downing Street has announced.
The meeting will be chaired by Matt Hancock, the health secretary.
Three research teams are to start work on developing potential vaccines, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said.
The plan is to have at least one potential vaccine in clinical trials by June.
Thailand has confirmed its fifth case of the new coronavirus.
“The patient is a 33-year-old woman from Wuhan on vacation,” deputy public health minister Sathit Patucha told Reuters, adding she was under quarantine at Rajavithi hospital and her condition was improving.
The woman arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday with her daughter and visited a private hospital complaining of a fever, coughing and muscle aches before being transferred to a government hospital on Thursday.
Her daughter tested negative for the virus.
GPs have been told to isolate anyone with symptoms that could indicate coronavirus who have recently travelled from Wuhan in China.
Guidance from Public Health England said doctors should check the travel history of patients.
If they suspect a patient has coronavirus, they should be placed in a room away from other patients and staff with the door closed.
They should not be allowed to use communal toilet facilities or be physically examined, the guidance adds.
The Wuhan government has announced it is building a hospital with 1,000 beds in the style of a facility constructed in Beijing during the Sars epidemic.
The hospital is expected to be completed on 3 February.
The prefabricated buildings were being erected around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city.
Disneyland in Shanghai will be closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Zoe Tidman writes.
“In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and Cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown,” it said on its website.
“We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and… announce the reopening date upon confirmation.”
The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan, but people who visited or had personal connections to infected people were among the scattered cases counted beyond the mainland.
South Korea and Japan both confirmed their second cases on Friday and Singapore confirmed its third.
Cases have been detected in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the United States, Thailand and Vietnam.
Many countries are screening travellers from China and isolating anyone with symptoms.
Fourteen people in the UK have been tested for the coronavirus, with five confirmed negative and nine still waiting results, Public Health England said on Thursday night.
The Scottish government had earlier confirmed that five people were being examined after presenting with symptoms of the illness, while it was understood that another patient was being tested at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
While none of the UK cases has been confirmed as the virus so far, two of those being tested in Scotland had been diagnosed with influenza after travelling to Wuhan in China.
They all travelled to Scotland from Wuhan, where the outbreak is thought to have originated, within the past two weeks, and were showing symptoms of respiratory trouble, a red flag for the virus.
It is “highly likely” cases of the new coronavirus will be found in the UK, the medical director of Public Health England has said.
“I think it’s highly likely that we will have cases in the UK,” Professor Paul Cosford, told the BBC.
“We do have a whole range of plans ready to go when that is the case and these are being implemented now.”
The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus has risen to 830, the National Health Commission said.
Some 26 people have died.
Here’s a look at how the coronavirus got its name and what its key features are:
China has broadened its unprecedented lockdown to encompass around 41 million people in an attempt to contain a deadly new virus.
At least 13 cities have been shutdown in central China.
The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city, but outside the mainland, cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macao, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.