First case of deadly Chinese coronavirus reported in US

21 January 2020, 19:09 | Updated: 4 March 2020, 17:13

The first case of the deadly coronavirus has been reported in the US
The first case of the deadly coronavirus has been reported in the US. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The first case of the deadly Chinese coronavirus has been reported in the US.

The United States' Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is expected to announce the first patient to have contracted the virus in the country.

A CDC spokesman has reportedly confirmed a traveller from China has been diagnosed with the deadly disease in Seattle, Washington.

Other cases have been recorded in South Korea, Japan, Thailand and China where the disease is believed to have originated from.

The deadly Chinese novel coronavirus has now killed six people and infected roughly 300 since its outbreak.

Efforts are being made to prevent the spread of the virus after the death toll rose on Tuesday.

The Chinese government are taking heightened precautions in order to control the outbreak.

However, the country is entering its busiest travel period due the Lunar New Year, which sees many people travelling back to their home town or village.

The World Health Organisation yesterday announced they would be holding an emergency committee about the disease on Wednesday.

Chinese government expert Zhong Nanshan revealed on Monday that the disease could be spread from human to human contact, despite authorities previously dismissing the idea.

The new strain of the virus appears to have originated from the central city of Wuhan which has so far recorded 198 cases, including all of the fatalities.

Those who were diagnosed in Beijing, Shanghai and southern Guangdon had previously visited Wuhan.

Several nations around the world are using screening measures for those travelling from China, especially those from the virus' city of origin.

Concern about the disease has triggered a similar response to the global outbreak of Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which also spread from China to more than a dozen countries between 2002 and 2003, killing nearly 800 people.

Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy confirmed his country would increase airport screening because of the number of people travelling from China to the southern hemisphere country.

There are three direct flights a week from Wuhan to Sydney which will all be assessed by border security and biosecurity staff.

Similar measures are being introduced in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and any other countries with significant travel links to China.

People have been wearing respiratory masks in Beijing
People have been wearing respiratory masks in Beijing. Picture: PA

At least three airports in the US have also begun assessing incoming flights from central China.

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe reminded people to “take every possible precaution.”

“We need to step up our caution levels as the number of patients is continuing to rise in China.”

Initial cases were discovered last month, with individuals connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan among the first to be infected.

The first patients were suspected to have contracted the virus from animals.

Mr Zhong, who helped uncover the scale of Sars, told the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV that two people in Guangdong province caught the disease from family members.

Among those infected are fifteen medical workers, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced.

China’s president, Xi Jinping, told government departments to release information on the virus in order to help international cooperation efforts.

Initial symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, coughing, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

Dr Nick Phin, National Infection Service Deputy Director at Public Health England, confirmed "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," he added.

"People travelling to Wuhan should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting the area, either in China or on their return to the UK, informing their health service prior to their attendance about their recent travel to the city.”

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