Coronavirus: Virus Spreads in Asia Pacific With Malaysian Cases

Coronavirus: Virus Spreads in Asia Pacific With Malaysian Cases

(Bloomberg) — The novel coronavirus, which has killed at least 41 people in China, has spread to more countries in the Asia Pacific, with Australia and Malaysia confirming infections.

China on Saturday reported a surge in new and severe cases, with media reports citing chaotic scenes as hospitals in the city of Wuhan turn away unwell people.

Pakistan and Nepal also reported infections, marking the spread to South Asia. U.S. health authorities say they are monitoring more than 60 people for potential illness, while France reported the first cases in Europe.

More than 1,200 cases in China, at least 41 deaths: Tracking the outbreakQuickTake: Learn more about the virus

Here are the latest developments:

Malaysia’s three cases (11:40 a.m. HKT)

A woman and her two grandchildren — Chinese nationals from Wuhan — traveled to Malaysia from Singapore. They are related to a 66-year-old man and and his son who had tested positive for the virus in Singapore, Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

Singapore health authorities tipped Malaysia off that the family had entered the country. The three are in stable condition with symptoms of a cough, and have been isolated, the health minister said. Five others who were traveling with them have tested negative for the virus.

Wuhan doctor reported dead (10:20 a.m.)

A doctor in Wuhan has died from the virus, local media reported. It’s not clear if the 62-year-old specialist was working on the front lines to treat the illness, with some saying he had retired.

Calls for Investigation on how Wuhan residents have left city (9:45 a.m. HKT)

Curbing the virus from spreading out from Wuhan is the political responsibility of Hubei, Jiang Chaoliang, the party secretary of the province, said in a meeting this Friday.

For new cases outside the province involving people that have been to Wuhan city, investigations should be launched on how they got out of the city, Chaoliang said, according to the Hubei government website.

Australian infection (9:05 a.m. HKT)

Australia reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus following the infection of a Wuhan man who flew into Melbourne on Jan. 19. The patient, a visitor in his 50s, has pneumonia and is in a stable condition, authorities said.

Australia has raised the level of travel advice for Wuhan and Hubei Province to “Level 4 — do not travel.”

Chinese military doctors (9 a.m. HKT)

Military doctors from the People’s Liberation Army arrived in Wuhan to respond to the coronavirus problem, according to Radio Television Hong Kong.

Hong Kong officials to meet (8:45 a.m. HKT)

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at the Hong Kong International Airport upon returning from Davos that she will hold meetings on the coronavirus.

The city’s health authorities said the confirmed number of cases rose from two to five. Authorities are also tracking a patient from Wuhan who transited at the Hong Kong airport and left the city.

China Death Count, Cases Rise (8:07 a.m. HKT)

At least 41 people have died and an additional 444 infections have been confirmed across 29 Chinese provinces, authorities said in a statement, a dramatic increase in the toll from the outbreak of coronavirus centered on the city of Wuhan.

The number of confirmed cases has climbed to 1,287 including 237 severe cases, the government said.

Chinese authorities have locked down public travel in Wuhan and several surrounding areas in an effort to contain the infection’s spread. Health officials around the globe have been expecting more cases and deaths, though the dramatic increase in the tally may raise fears that the outbreak is worse than initially thought.

‘Doomsday’ scenes in Wuhan (7 a.m. HKT)

Health centers in Wuhan are struggling to meet demand from hundreds of unwell people, with many turned away from hospitals crammed with patients lying in packed corridors, the South China Morning Post reports.

Wuhan deaths (5:01 a.m. HKT)

Hubei provincial authorities release case reports of 15 people who died recently in the province. The deceased patients were ages 55 to 87 years and many had underlying chronic disease, such as high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes.

Of the 14 for whom gender was noted, four were females. One case, a 76-year-old woman who died on Friday, developed a persistent fever 13 days after she was admitted to Wuhan’s Third Hospital with a broken arm. Her symptoms progressed to bilateral pneumonia and shortness of breath. She slipped into a coma and died of respiratory failure days later.

Nepal Reports First Confirmed Case (Saturday, 12:07 a.m. HKT)

A 31-year-old student in Nepal tested positive for the virus after returning from Wuhan where he is doing his PhD, the Kathmandu Post reported, becoming South Asia’s first confirmed case.

He was discharged from hospital after his health improved but an official at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division said they are trying to track down the man after a lab result came back positive for the virus.

France Confirms Cases of Coronavirus (Friday)

France’s Health Ministry confirmed three cases of the coronavirus, the first reported infections in Europe. The first case is in Bordeaux, and the other two are in Paris — all three had been on a trip to China.

New York Investigating Possible Cases

Three people in New York are being investigated for possible infection with coronavirus, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office. A fourth person has been investigated and tested negative.

The patients have been isolated while their cases are examined, and samples are being tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cuomo’s office said.

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of several ports of entry where passengers from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak is centered, are being routed. Passengers arriving from there are being screened and checked for symptoms, though the virus can incubate for at least several days before signs arise.

S&P Falls After Possible Third U.S. Case

U.S. lawmakers said health authorities are expected to confirm a third case of coronavirus in the U.S., following a closed-door briefing between lawmakers in Washington and federal health officials.

Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Josh Hawley of Missouri said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told lawmakers about the new case at the briefing.

The S&P fell to a low on the day after the lawmakers’ remarks following the briefing.

More U.S. Cases Expected

U.S. federal and local health authorities are monitoring more than 60 people as they attempt to catch new cases of coronavirus in travelers from China, where the outbreak is centered.

“We are expecting more cases in the U.S. and we are likely going to see some cases among close contacts of travelers and human-to-human transmission,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

U.S. authorities have screened more than 2,000 travelers from China on 200 flights without identifying any new patients. The CDC said it’s working to get tests for the virus out to states so they can more quickly identify cases. Currently, samples have to be sent to the CDC for analysis.

Second U.S. Patient Confirmed

A second patient in the U.S. has been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. The patient is a woman in her 60s from Chicago who visited Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, in December and returned to the U.S. on Jan. 13, said Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The first U.S. case was a man in his 30s who was traveling in Wuhan and arrived back in the U.S. on Jan. 15.

source: Bloomberg L.P.

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