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Coronavirus COVID-19 LIVE updates: Awaiting breakthrough in race for treatment, vaccine

Coronavirus COVID-19 LIVE updates: Awaiting breakthrough in race for treatment, vaccine

With more than 1,000 deaths and over 42,000 known cases, new coronavirus named 'COVID-19' has sparked evacuations, lockdowns and a global scare. Apart from mainland China, over 300 cases were reported in at least 24 other countries and regions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese health officials.

The Chinese government has virtually locked down the central province of Hubei, home to 60 million people, and it's capital Wuhan. China is facing mounting isolation as airlines suspend flights to its cities. Many countries have evacuated their citizens from Hubei and are putting them in quarantine or isolation upon return.

While most people infected with the virus recover quickly with only mild symptoms, the coronavirus COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia and other severe respiratory illnesses. It is still too early to know what its death rate will be since there are likely to be many cases of milder disease going undetected.

There is no vaccine for the virus yet.

Symptoms

Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath. The symptoms of COVID-19 are believed to appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.


Devdiscourse News Desk
Updated: 14-02-2020 15:41 IST Created: 06-02-2020 14:13 IST

3:41 PMChina's coronavirus outbreak showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases. In its latest update, China's National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Feb. 13, taking the accumulated total infected to 63,851 people. Some 55,748 people are currently undergoing treatment, while 1,380 people have died of the flu-like virus.The latest toll takes account of some deaths that had been double-counted in Hubei, the health commission said.

3:35 PMSingapore's economy could enter recession due to the blow from the coronavirus outbreak, its prime minister said on Friday, adding that the city-state was bracing for a "significant" hit in the coming quarters. "The impact will be significant at least in the next couple of quarters. It is a very intense outbreak," Lee Hsien Loong said in a video interview posted on his Facebook page."I can't say whether we will have a recession or not. It's possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit," Lee said in remarks made to media at Singapore's main Changi airport. Lee said business at the airport had suffered with flights down by a third.

3:17 PMThe first group of French nationals repatriated from China due to the coronavirus outbreak returned to the outside world on Friday after two weeks in quarantine. None of the 181 involved - who had been flown home from Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic - tested positive for the virus, local health officials said.A further 157 people remain in quarantine in southern France, of whom 122 will be allowed home on Feb. 16 and the remainder on Feb. 23. France has recorded 11 cases of the virus.

8:37 PMVietnam has quarantined a community of 10,000 people near the capital, Hanoi, for 20 days over fears that the coronavirus could spread there, two local officials said on Thursday.The rural commune of Son Loi, in the northern Vietnamese province of Vinh Phuc, 44 km (27 miles) from Hanoi, is home to 11 of the 16 coronavirus cases in the Southeast Asian country, including a three-month-old baby.

8:33 PMChinese scientists are testing two antiviral drugs against the new coronavirus and preliminary clinical trial results are weeks away, the co-chair of a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting said on Wednesday.

6:40 PMIn Hubei province, in central China, officials said 242 people died on Wednesday, the biggest daily rise since the flu-like virus emerged in the provincial capital Wuhan in December. Total deaths in China are 1,367.The rise, following a forecast earlier this week by China's senior medical adviser that the epidemic may end there by April, halted a global stocks rally. But it appeared in large part to be due to methodology.Hubei had previously only allowed infections to be confirmed by RNA tests, which can take days. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information allowing identification of viruses. But it has also begun using computerized tomography (CT) scans, which give images of the lungs, the Hubei health commission said, to identify cases and isolate them faster.As a result, another 14,840 new cases were reported in the province on Thursday, from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier. But excluding cases confirmed using the new methods, the number of new cases rose by only 1,508.

1:34 PMRussia on Wednesday discharged its second patient who caught the new coronavirus, giving him a clean bill of health and a box of vitamins after treatment in Siberia. "Today he is completely healthy and is not a danger to the public," the chief doctor of the Chita infection hospital, Sergei Yurchuk, said in a statement from regional health authorities. "We are presenting him with vitamins and urge him to be more attentive to his health and not fall ill any more," he said.So far only two confirmed cases of infection with the COVID-19 virus have been reported in Russia, consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said Tuesday. Both were Chinese nationals.A female Chinese student was discharged on Tuesday, with a gift of balloons from her doctors in a hospital in Tyumen. In both cases, the infection was mild, Russian doctors said. People who were in contact with the two patients are still under quarantine.

1:31 PMTotal cases of the new coronavirus in China have hit 44,653, according to health officials, including 2,015 new confirmed cases on Tuesday. That was the lowest daily rise in new cases since January 30. But experts are disagreeing over whether COVID-19's peak is near. While Chinese officials said the situation was under control, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the epidemic posed a global threat potentially worse than terrorism.The world must "wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one", WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday, adding the first vaccine was 18 months away. Asked about Zhong's prediction, Australia's chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said: "I think it's far too premature to say that.""We've just got to watch the data very closely over the coming weeks before we make any predictions," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp while praising China's "Herculean efforts" to contain the virus.

9:00 PMThe first vaccine targeting China's coronavirus could be available in 18 months, "so we have to do everything today using available weapons", World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Tuesday.He said the virus had been named COVID-19, explaining that it was important to avoid stigma and that other names could be inaccurate.

5:42 PMFranco-British biotech company Novacyt says it can offer a coronavirus test that is faster than rival methods by focusing on a narrow sequence of DNA coding, as it faces stiff competition in fight against coronavirus.Novacyt shares have risen by almost 400% so far this year after it said it had designed a test able to detect the coronavirus in less than two hours. Current testing, which can also identify other strains, can take up to a day. The test has not received regulatory approval but Novacyt hopes to receive a green light from the European Union next week and has applied to the United States' Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.

3:59 PMChina's coronavirus outbreak poses a "very grave threat for the rest of the world", the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday in an appeal for sharing virus samples and speeding up research into drugs and vaccines.WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was addressing the start of a two-day meeting aimed at accelerating research into drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines into the flu-like virus amid growing concerns about its ability to spread

3:56 PMA 33-year-old Chinese woman infected with the deadly coronavirus pneumonia has given birth to a healthy baby girl with no infection in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, state media reported on Tuesday. The Chinese woman was at the 37th week of pregnancy when she gave birth via cesarean to a baby with a weight of 2,730 grams at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.The infant, whose first nucleic acid test associated with the novel coronavirus was negative, is receiving intensive care and will be tested again in the next few days to confirm the absence of the virus, according to the provincial center for disease control and prevention.

10:04 PMAn advance World Health Organization team of medical experts arrived in China on Monday to investigate the coronavirus outbreak, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.Tedros, who visited Beijing for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese ministers in late January, returned with an agreement on sending an international mission. It took nearly two weeks to get the Chinese government's green light on its composition.Tedros said there had been concerning incidents of an onward spread of the virus in people with no history of travel to China which "could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire".

4:22 PMMongolia will suspend deliveries of coal across its southern border into China until March 2 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the country's National Emergency Commission said on Monday.Exports via the border points of Gashuunsukhait, Shiveekhuren, Bichigt, and Bulgan will all be stopped, the commission said. The body is also recommending that Mongolia's Tsagaan Sar new year celebrations be suspended, it said.Mongolia has already stopped any foreign nationals from entering the country via China. The country has not yet reported any cases of infection.

3:18 PMAn advance team of international experts led by the World Health Organization (WHO) has left for Beijing to help investigate China's coronavirus epidemic.The outbreak has caused huge disruptions in China with usually teeming cities becoming virtual ghost towns during the past two weeks as Communist Party rulers ordered virtual lockdowns, canceled flights, closed factories, and shut schools.WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who made a trip to Beijing for talks with President Xi Jinping and Chinese ministers in late January, returned with an agreement on sending an international mission. But it has taken nearly two weeks to get the government's green light on its composition, which was not announced, other than to say that WHO veteran Dr. Bruce Aylward, a Canadian epidemiologist, and emergencies expert, was heading it.

2:01 PMBritain said on Monday that the new coronavirus was a serious and imminent threat to public health, a step that gives the government additional powers to fight the spread of the virus."Measures outlined in these regulations are considered as an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission of the virus," the ministry said.Under the measures announced on Monday, the Department of Health said people with coronavirus can now be forcibly quarantined and will not be free to leave, and can be forcibly sent into isolation if they pose a threat to public health.The ministry designated Arrowe Park Hospital and Kents Hill Park as an "isolation" facility and Wuhan and Hubei province in China as an "infected area".So far, Britain says it has recorded four cases of coronavirus while British nationals who have been flown back from Wuhan are being quarantined for 14 days.

1:59 PMWorkers began trickling back to offices and factories around China on Monday as the government eased some restrictions on working during a coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 900 people, most of them on the mainland. The death toll of 97 on Sunday was the largest in a single day since the outbreak was detected in December. It has been linked to a market selling animals in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.Across mainland China, there were 3,062 new confirmed infections on Sunday, bringing the total number to 40,171, according to the National Health Commission (NHC), with 908 dead.

10:30 AMReluctant to go outside for fear of catching the new coronavirus sweeping the Chinese city of Wuhan, Edward Wang found a lifeline: grocery delivery services provided by local retailers.But with hundreds of thousands of other people in Wuhan also stuck inside their homes doing the same thing, and retailers struggling to get hold of their staff, the service became overloaded. So for Wang, now in Canada after flying out of Wuhan on an evacuation flight, a daily ritual developed during his days on virtual lockdown in the city.At the turn of midnight, grocery stores would open up their order book for the day's deliveries, and he would pounce to place his order before all the delivery slots were taken by other customers."You have to be very quick," he told Reuters by phone."Usually, if they release their inventory at midnight, the day before, you basically have to finish by 12:02 or 12:03, so within 2 or 3 minutes, otherwise, all the delivery schedules are booked up."Read more

10:19 AMAn OPEC, non-OPEC technical panel has recommended extending a current oil supply cut pact until the end of 2020 and more output reductions due to the impact of the coronavirus on oil demand, Algeria's oil minister said in a statement.Mohamed Arkab, who currently holds the presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), also said that the OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee, known as the JTC, has recommended that "an additional reduction in production be made until the end of the second quarter of 2020".The JTC which advises OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, concluded its meeting on Thursday. "The coronavirus epidemic has a negative impact on economic activities, especially on the transport, tourism, and industry, in China particularly, and also increasingly in the Asian region and gradually in the world," Arkab said.

10:14 AMGovernments across the world have evacuated more of their residents from China's Hubei province as coronavirus scare continues to grow. The number of new coronavirus deaths on the Chinese mainland hit 811 by end of Feb. 8, the National Health Commission said on Sunday morning, surpassing that of the SARS epidemic's toll of 774 in 2002/2003.A second evacuation flight is bringing back another 174 Singaporeans and their family members from virus-hit Wuhan in China to the city-state on Sunday morning, Singapore's foreign ministry said.The city-state had evacuated 92 Singaporeans from Wuhan - the locked down Chinese city that is the epicenter of the outbreak - on Jan. 30, some of whom have since been confirmed as infected.Britain said on Saturday that a final evacuation flight from the Chinese city of Wuhan, epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak, had taken off with more than 200 people on board.Thirty Filipinos returned to the Philippines on Sunday from Wuhan City in China's Hubei province on a chartered flight arranged by the foreign affairs and health departments.A Canadian government-chartered plane landed early on Friday morning carrying 176 passengers from China.

4:49 PMSingapore on Friday reported three more coronavirus cases that authorities have not yet linked to previous infections or travel to China, prompting the city-state to raise its countrywide alert level.The new cases take Singapore's the city-state's virus tally to 33 with the alert level raised to orange, denoting the disease is severe and passes easily from person-to-person. Red - the highest alert level - indicates it is spreading widely."As there are now a few local cases without any links to previous cases or travel history to China, we have stepped up our risk assessment," the ministry said in a statement, advising businesses to cancel or defer non-essential events and to be prepared for widespread community transmission.

4:45 PMAutomakers and parts suppliers have shut factories in China, in line with government guidelines, or have flagged a hit to profits following the coronavirus outbreak.Below is the list of automakers and parts suppliers that have been hit by the virus scare:BMW said production at its plant in Shenyang will resume on Feb. 17.Daimler said it plans to resume passenger car production in Beijing on Feb. 10.Fiat Chrysler warned on Thursday that disruption to parts supplies could threaten production at one of its European plants within two to four weeks.Ford Motor plans to resume production on Feb. 10 at its factories in Chongqing and Hangzhou with joint venture partner Chongqing Changan Automobile. Ford this week excluded any potential impact from its already weaker-than-expected forecast for the year, saying it was too early to make an estimate.Honda confirmed on Friday it would restart its three plants in Wuhan, which it operates with Dongfeng Motor Group, on Feb. 13. Honda, which raised its annual profit forecast on Friday, said there were currently no supply chain issues that would impede production.Hyundai Motor said this week it would suspend production in South Korea due to the outbreak disrupting its supply chain, the first major automaker to do so outside China. Most of Hyundai's South Korean plants will be shut from Feb. 7, with some production lines expected to restart on Feb. 11 or Feb. 12, a union official said.Nissan Motor said it is considering restarting production in China at its venture with Dongfeng sometime after Feb. 10. Production in Hubei will start sometime after Feb. 14, it said.PSA Peugeot Citroen, which is in the process of merging with Fiat, said last week its three plants in Wuhan will remain closed until Feb. 14.Suzuki Motor Corp said on Friday it was considering sourcing vehicle components from outside China because the outbreak is threatening to disrupt vehicle production in its biggest market, India.Tesla said last week that a delay to an increase in production in Shanghai due to a factory closure would hit profitability slightly. On Wednesday, a senior executive said Tesla would delay deliveries of Model 3 sedans built in that plant. The company is also evaluating whether the supply chain for cars built in its Fremont, California, plant will be affected.Toyota Motor on Friday extended the shutdown of its China factories from Feb. 9 to Feb 16. The Japanese automaker operates 12 car and parts factories in regions such as the northern city of Tianjin and the southern province of Guangdong.Valeo, a French car parts maker, said last week its three sites in Wuhan will remain shut until at least Feb. 13. On Wednesday, it said it was not experiencing any major disruption to its supply chain in China.

11:21 AMJapan's fourth chartered flight has returned to Tokyo from Wuhan, the epicenter of a viral outbreak in central China, carrying 198 Japanese evacuees and their Chinese spouses. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Friday that so far nobody was seen having obvious symptoms of the coronavirus infection.

11:16 AMChina's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, its top anti-corruption body, said on Friday it would send investigators to Wuhan to probe "issues raised by the people in connection with Dr. Li Wenliang."Read more

9:09 PMA third person in the United Kingdom has tested positive for coronavirus, England's chief medical officer said on Thursday. "A further patient has tested positive for coronavirus bringing the total number of cases in the UK to three," Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said. "The individual did not acquire this in the UK. We are now working quickly to identify any contacts the patient has had," Whitty said.The patient is being transferred to a specialist health service center. The first two people in Britain to be diagnosed with the virus are being treated at a hospital in Newcastle, northeast England, Britain's health ministry said last week.Coronavirus spread among passengers of a quarantined Japanese cruise liner on Thursday and dragged down production at more global businesses, as scientists across the world searched for a vaccine.The death toll from the virus in mainland China jumped by 73 to 563, with more than 28,000 confirmed infections inside the workshop of the world and its second-largest economy.

5:28 PMTokyo Olympics organizers have set up a task force to coordinate with public health authorities on how to respond to the growing coronavirus epidemic. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said at a press briefing on Thursday that he chaired the newly created Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures Task Force, which held its first meeting on Feb. 4. A second briefing would be held as early as tomorrow, he said.Muto said on Wednesday that the coronavirus spread could throw "cold water" over the 2020 Games momentum. At Thursday's briefing, he pledged that the event "would go on as planned."Several other key events have already been affected due to the coronavirus.

5:02 PMHundreds of experts will gather in Geneva next week, on February 11-12, in an attempt to find a way to fight back against the outbreak by speeding research into drugs and vaccines, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. A multinational WHO-led team would go to China "very soon", it added. Asked about reports of "drug breakthroughs", WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said, "there are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV (virus)."

3:37 PMIn the United States, another 350 American evacuees from Wuhan were placed under quarantine at two military bases in California, bringing to 540 the number of people subject to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's first public health quarantine in 50 years.Uzbekistan has evacuated 251 people from China amid the coronavirus outbreak and quarantined them on arrival in Tashkent, the Central Asian nation's state airline said.A planeload of New Zealanders, Australians, and Pacific Islanders evacuated from China's Wuhan city arrived in New Zealand's Auckland on Wednesday, where they will be quarantined to prevent the spread of a new flu-like coronavirus, officials said.Taiwan has evacuated the first batch of an estimated 500 Taiwanese stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan.Brazil on Tuesday obtained authorization from China to fly two planes to the city of Wuhan at the center of the new coronavirus outbreak to evacuate Brazilian citizens who asked to be repatriated.Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said 243 citizens and permanent residents evacuated Wuhan on Monday on an Australian government-chartered aircraft.Saudi Arabia has evacuated 10 students from the Chinese city of Wuhan where the new coronavirus outbreak began, Saudi state television reported on Sunday.- On Sunday, the government flew 243 Indonesians from China's Hubei province and placed them under quarantine at a military base on the sparsely populated Natuna Besar island northwest of Borneo.South Korea flew 368 people home on a charter flight that arrived on Friday. A second chartered flight departed Seoul for Wuhan on Friday, with plans to evacuate around 350 more South Korean citizens.- A third chartered flight repatriating Japanese people arrived from Wuhan on Friday, bringing the number of repatriated nationals to 565. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Japan is making arrangements to repatriate all Japanese who want to return from Wuhan and surrounding areas, but that a fourth plane is unlikely to be dispatched this week.- A plane carrying 83 British and 27 European Union nationals from Wuhan landed in Britain on Friday. The returning Britons will be quarantined for 14 days at an NHS facility in northwest England.Kazakhstan has evacuated 83 of its citizens, mostly students, from the Chinese city of Wuhan.- Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday that a German military plane would be leaving for China shortly to evacuate more than 100 German citizens.Morocco will evacuate 100 citizens, mostly students, from around Wuhan.Spain's government is working with China and the European Union to repatriate its nationals.Canada aims to evacuate some 300 of its citizens on Thursday from Wuhan, a government source said, though the planned flight was still awaiting final Chinese approval.Russia said it would begin moving its citizens out of China via its Far Eastern region on Feb. 1, regional authorities said. It plans to evacuate more than 600 Russian citizens currently in Hubei province, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said. A first Russian military plane took off on Tuesday to evacuate Russian citizens from Wuhan, the RIA news agency reported.- The Netherlands is preparing the voluntary evacuation of 20 Dutch nationals and their families from Hubei Province, Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a letter to parliament. The Netherlands is finalizing arrangements with EU partners and Chinese authorities.France has evacuated some nationals from Wuhan and said it would place the passengers in quarantine. It said it would first evacuate nationals without symptoms and then those showing symptoms at a later, unspecified dateSwiss authorities said they hope to have about 10 compatriots join the French evacuation of nationals from China.- A plane brought 138 Thais home from China's coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan on Tuesday and they waved from evacuation buses as they headed off to two weeks in quarantine to ensure they are free from the disease.

2:44 PMThere is no vaccine. Chinese scientists were able to identify the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus and shared it publicly. Scientists in Australia have developed a lab-grown version of the virus, a step toward creating a vaccine.Drugmakers around the globe expect to begin testing experimental vaccines on humans in about three months.

2:40 PM"We recommend the use of masks for people who have symptoms ... because the virus transmits through droplets," says medical expert Sylvie Briand. But they do not guarantee protection against infection. "For people who don't have symptoms, the mask in fact is not useful," Briand says.The American Centers for Disease Control's advice is that face masks are not required for the general public.

2:40 PMThe virus can be transmitted via droplets when an infected person breathes out, coughs or sneezes, and can also spread via contaminated surfaces such as door handles. Experts have said it is more easily transmitted than the SARS virus. The incubation period is up to 14 days. People may be able to infect others before symptoms appear.The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people frequently wash hands, cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and avoid close contact with those who are sick.

14-02-2020 03:41:12 PM

Over 5,000 new cases dash hopes of outbreak peaking

China's coronavirus outbreak showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases. In its latest update, China's National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Feb. 13, taking the accumulated total infected to 63,851 people. Some 55,748 people are currently undergoing treatment, while 1,380 people have died of the flu-like virus.

The latest toll takes account of some deaths that had been double-counted in Hubei, the health commission said.

 

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14-02-2020 03:35:28 PM

Recession 'possible', says Singapore PM as coronavirus takes toll

Recession 'possible', says Singapore PM as coronavirus takes toll

Singapore's economy could enter recession due to the blow from the coronavirus outbreak, its prime minister said on Friday, adding that the city-state was bracing for a "significant" hit in the coming quarters. "The impact will be significant at least in the next couple of quarters. It is a very intense outbreak," Lee Hsien Loong said in a video interview posted on his Facebook page.

"I can't say whether we will have a recession or not. It's possible, but definitely our economy will take a hit," Lee said in remarks made to media at Singapore's main Changi airport. Lee said business at the airport had suffered with flights down by a third.

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14-02-2020 03:17:39 PM

French nationals out of quarantine; none test positive for coronavirus

The first group of French nationals repatriated from China due to the coronavirus outbreak returned to the outside world on Friday after two weeks in quarantine. None of the 181 involved - who had been flown home from Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic - tested positive for the virus, local health officials said.

A further 157 people remain in quarantine in southern France, of whom 122 will be allowed home on Feb. 16 and the remainder on Feb. 23. France has recorded 11 cases of the virus.

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13-02-2020 08:37:57 PM

Vietnam quarantines thousands amid coronavirus fears

Vietnam quarantines thousands amid coronavirus fears

Vietnam has quarantined a community of 10,000 people near the capital, Hanoi, for 20 days over fears that the coronavirus could spread there, two local officials said on Thursday.

The rural commune of Son Loi, in the northern Vietnamese province of Vinh Phuc, 44 km (27 miles) from Hanoi, is home to 11 of the 16 coronavirus cases in the Southeast Asian country, including a three-month-old baby.

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13-02-2020 08:33:04 PM

Chinese scientists testing two antiviral drugs; preliminary results weeks away

Chinese scientists are testing two antiviral drugs against the new coronavirus and preliminary clinical trial results are weeks away, the co-chair of a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting said on Wednesday.

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13-02-2020 06:40:50 PM

Coronavirus deaths hit new high in China's Hubei; new testing method adopted

In Hubei province, in central China, officials said 242 people died on Wednesday, the biggest daily rise since the flu-like virus emerged in the provincial capital Wuhan in December. Total deaths in China are 1,367.

The rise, following a forecast earlier this week by China's senior medical adviser that the epidemic may end there by April, halted a global stocks rally. But it appeared in large part to be due to methodology.

Hubei had previously only allowed infections to be confirmed by RNA tests, which can take days. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries genetic information allowing identification of viruses. But it has also begun using computerized tomography (CT) scans, which give images of the lungs, the Hubei health commission said, to identify cases and isolate them faster.

As a result, another 14,840 new cases were reported in the province on Thursday, from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier. But excluding cases confirmed using the new methods, the number of new cases rose by only 1,508.

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12-02-2020 01:34:09 PM

Russia discharges second coronavirus patient; says he is 'completely healthy'

Russia on Wednesday discharged its second patient who caught the new coronavirus, giving him a clean bill of health and a box of vitamins after treatment in Siberia. "Today he is completely healthy and is not a danger to the public," the chief doctor of the Chita infection hospital, Sergei Yurchuk, said in a statement from regional health authorities. "We are presenting him with vitamins and urge him to be more attentive to his health and not fall ill any more," he said.

So far only two confirmed cases of infection with the COVID-19 virus have been reported in Russia, consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said Tuesday. Both were Chinese nationals.

A female Chinese student was discharged on Tuesday, with a gift of balloons from her doctors in a hospital in Tyumen. In both cases, the infection was mild, Russian doctors said. People who were in contact with the two patients are still under quarantine.

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12-02-2020 01:31:37 PM

Coronavirus daily cases hit lowest in February but concerns remain

Coronavirus daily cases hit lowest in February but concerns remain

Total cases of the new coronavirus in China have hit 44,653, according to health officials, including 2,015 new confirmed cases on Tuesday. That was the lowest daily rise in new cases since January 30. But experts are disagreeing over whether COVID-19's peak is near. 

While Chinese officials said the situation was under control, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the epidemic posed a global threat potentially worse than terrorism.

The world must "wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one", WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday, adding the first vaccine was 18 months away. Asked about Zhong's prediction, Australia's chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said: "I think it's far too premature to say that."

"We've just got to watch the data very closely over the coming weeks before we make any predictions," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp while praising China's "Herculean efforts" to contain the virus.

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11-02-2020 09:00:25 PM

New coronavirus named 'COVID-19'; vaccine could take 18 months - WHO

The first vaccine targeting China's coronavirus could be available in 18 months, "so we have to do everything today using available weapons", World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Tuesday.

He said the virus had been named COVID-19, explaining that it was important to avoid stigma and that other names could be inaccurate.

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11-02-2020 05:42:21 PM

Novacyt claims to have developed coronavirus test faster than rival methods

Franco-British biotech company Novacyt says it can offer a coronavirus test that is faster than rival methods by focusing on a narrow sequence of DNA coding, as it faces stiff competition in fight against coronavirus.

Novacyt shares have risen by almost 400% so far this year after it said it had designed a test able to detect the coronavirus in less than two hours. Current testing, which can also identify other strains, can take up to a day. The test has not received regulatory approval but Novacyt hopes to receive a green light from the European Union next week and has applied to the United States' Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.

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