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UK News Everything we know about China's deadly coronavirus as international emergency nears

15:26  22 january  2020
15:26  22 january  2020 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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The number of people in China infected with a new virus, the coronavirus , is increasing. Reports say this infection has spread from Wuhan to the World Health Organization (WHO) will consider declaring an international public health emergency over the coronavirus - as it did with swine flu and Ebola.

What is a coronavirus ? Coronavirus belongs to a family of viruses called Coronaviridae and looks like nailed rings under an electron microscope. "It does not appear to be very contagious between people at this stage, based on about 60 known symptomatic cases so far," Macintyre said in a statement on

The World Health Organisation is set to meet today to consider declaring an international emergency over China's continuing coronavirus outbreak.

The deadly virus, which first emerged late last month, has now spread to hundreds of people, including several medical workers.

Though infection numbers remain low outside of China itself, the UK has issued medical and travel advice as the number of cases continue to rise.

Here's everything you need to know:

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What is the virus and its symptoms?

The coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, remains little known to medical experts.

Generally, coronaviruses causes respiratory infections - and the one spreading in China would be the seventh globally known to infect humans.

a person standing in front of a building: Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated. © AP Photo/Dake Kang Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated.

Symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

Some patients have also developed fluid in their lungs, similar to viral penumonia.

The first cases late last month were connected to a seafood market, as transmission was thought to be occurring from animals to humans. However, human-to-human transmission has since been confirmed.

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Authorities have warned that the virus could mutate and spread further.

How many people have been affected?

The number of confirmed cases continues to rise in China, where the outbreak is centered.

As of midnight on Tuesday, the country's National Health Commission had confirmed 440 cases in 13 jurisdictions.

a group of people standing in a room: Travelers wearing face masks walk with their luggage at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in southern China's Hubei province. © Chinatopix via AP Travelers wearing face masks walk with their luggage at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in southern China's Hubei province.

Nine people have died, all in the Hubei province, since the outbreak first emerged.

Additionally, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US have confirmed one case each.

Thailand has confirmed three cases.

But disease modelling experts from Imperial College, London say the true figure in the city of Wuhan alone - the source of the outbreak - could be 4,000 and as high as 9,700 in the worst case scenario.

Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College, told a press briefing in London that over the coming weeks the number of cases would increase rapidly.

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He added: “We’ve updated our estimates of the number of cases to a central estimate of about 4,000 in Wuhan. It will be much more complicated to estimate for the whole of China.”

What is being done to prevent its spread?

The World Health Organisation is set to hold an emergency committee meeting on Wednesday to discuss the spread of the virus.

The organisation is said to be considering declaring a global health emergency, which would mark just the fifth time the group has ever done so.

In China, residents and travellers are struggling to get hold of face masks, as many shops have sold out.

People have been advised to avoid crowded places, where the virus could spread more easily.

a box on a table: A box of masks imported from Japan sits inside a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan, China. Pharmacies are restricting customers to buying one mask at a time amid high demand. © AP Photo/Dake Kang A box of masks imported from Japan sits inside a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan, China. Pharmacies are restricting customers to buying one mask at a time amid high demand.

In an effort to contain its spread, Chinese officials at airports and train stations have begun checking passengers for fever with electronic thermometers.

Numerous other countries in Asia are following the same precautions with incoming airline passengers.

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What is a coronavirus ? Coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses known as Coronaviridae and Coronaviruses contain a strand of RNA within their envelope and cannot reproduce without getting Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, will convene an emergency

What has Public Health England and Wales said?

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director of the National Infection Service for Public Health England, said: "Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is very low.

"We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review."

WalesOnline has contact Public Health Wales for comment.

How is travel being affected?

Some precautionary measures have been put in place for travellers coming to the UK from the affected areas of China.

"There have been some announcements this morning about flights that come direct from the affected region to Heathrow with some additional measures there," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News.

"At the moment Public Health England have moved this from 'very low' to 'low' but obviously we want to stay ahead of the issue so we are keeping a very close eye on it.

a man sitting on a tarmac at an airport: Travelers wear face masks as they wait their flight at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong. © AP Photo/Ng Han Guan Travelers wear face masks as they wait their flight at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong.

"Initially this is to ensure that when flights come in directly into Heathrow there is a separate area for people to arrive in."

Those planning to travel to Wuhan have been advised to maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and to avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms.

The Foreign Office is advising travellers to seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK.

Google closing China offices amid coronavirus outbreak .
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