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Monday, Apr 06, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak: China death toll rises to 41 as France and Australia confirm cases – updates

Chinese authorities have placed 13 cities in lockdown as they scramble to stem the spread of the deadly infection, which has now reached Europe. Follow all the latest updates

Chinese state media reports a doctor has died from the virus in Wuhan

There are reports emerging that a doctor treating patients in Wuhan has died from coronavirus. Chinese state media has named the doctor as 62-year-old Liang Wudong. I’ll bring you more details as soon as I have them.

The Chinese ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, has said Beijing is co-operating with the World Health Organization over the outbreak of the virus. The WHO declared the new coronavirus an “emergency in China” this week but has stopped short of declaring it of international concern.

In Hubei province, where the outbreak is believed to have begun, health authorities said on Saturday there were 658 patients affected by the virus in medical care, 57 of whom were critically ill.

As promised, here’s some more of what the Australian PM, Scott Morrison said about the country’s first diagnosed case of coronavirus.

Morrison said a confirmed diagnoses in the country had been anticipated.

“The Australian Government, of course, has been taking this issue incredibly seriously. We have activated the necessary precautions and procedures that are in place,” he said.

Chief medical officers in all states and territories met today he said, to discuss the outbreak.

“What I want to assure Australians about is the preparedness and the plans and the capabilities are in place here in Australia to deal with issues of this nature. We have the people, we have all of the procedures that are now swinging into place to ensure that we can provide the protection to Australians. Now, that said, across the country, even as we speak, our border authorities and biosecurity authorities will be ensuring that those flights that are coming from China will be met by our officials and there will be appropriate information that is being provided to those alighting passengers.”

Morrison confirmed that Australia’s travel advisory had been changed to recommend people do no travel to Hubei province at all.

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has just given a press conference about the confirmed case of coronavirus in Melbourne, Australia’s first confirmed. I’ll bring you the details of what he said shortly, but the overall message was for Australian’s to “go about their normal business”.


China's Hainan province quarantines tourists from Hubei province

In China’s Haikou city, the capital of the southern island province of Hainan, will start a 14-day centralised medical observation for tourists from the central Hubei province, the local government in Haikou has announced.

Tourists from Hubei, especially from Wuhan city, are not allowed to leave the hotel where the medical observation will be held during the 14-day period, it said.

Hubei has confirmed 729 cases of the new coronavirus, with 39 deaths as of 24 January, the provincial health authorities said.

Earlier the chief medical office in Australian state of New south Wales, Dr Kerry Chant, said the suspected patients in the country were in isolation and did not pose a risk of transmitting the virus.

“We’re encouraging people who have come back from Wuhan, or who have been in contact with confirmed cases in China or in other countries, to please seek care if you develop any symptoms of fever, sore throat, pneumonia, a cough or respiratory symptoms of any sort,” she said.

Chant said testing currently takes about six hours but that time frame will likely shrink in the future.

You can read our full coverage of the Australian situation here.


Australia’s chief medical officer said about another 12 people were being tested in Australia today for the virus.

The man diagnosed with the virus is in his 50s and sought medical advice after he fell ill once he was in Melbourne. Murphy said he wore a face mask to the hospital where he reported his symptoms.

He arrived in Melbourne on flight CZ321 last Sunday 19 January – a China Southern Airlines Flight No CZ321 from Guangzhou. Australian authorities are contacting people on that flight.


Australia's chief medical officer says 'no risk to general Australian community

Australia’s chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, is giving a news conference, after a case of coronavirus was confirmed in Melbourne.

He says there is “no evidence this virus is being transmitted in Australia”.

He has asked that anyone who has travelled from China who develops flu-like symptoms to see their doctor and get checked out.

“At this stage there is no risk to the general Australian community,” Murphy says.

“There are potentially others like this person (diagnosed in Melbourne)... who was well when he travelled.”

He confirmed the man diagnosed had visited Wuhan province, but had come from a direct flight from Guangzhou to Melbourne.

In the United Kingdom, the 14 people who were tested for coronavirus did not in fact have it. But UK health officials have teamed up with Border Force agents and airlines to try to track down around 2,000 people who have recently flown into the UK from Wuhan. China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, says the government in Beijing is determined to curb the spread of the virus. Health officials have teamed up with Border Force agents and airlines to try to track down around 2,000 people who have recently flown into the UK from Wuhan, the Chinese province at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.


As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, Chinese authorities in Wuhan are rushing to build a new 1,000-bed hospital in the city to deal with the rising influx of patients.

To speed construction, the hospital is being built with prefabricated buildings around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city.

You can read the full story of the hospital build here, but in the mean time, here are some amazing images of the construction.

Officials in the Australia say the 50-year-old man arrived in Australia on Sunday. He entered Australia on China Southern Airlines flight number CZ321 and had spent the intervening time with family in Melbourne.

The man developed symptoms of pneumonia and presented to a GP on Thursday. He was then put into isolation.

Authorities said there may be other people on the plane who were incubating the virus and called for other people on the flight to come forward for testing.


One confirmed case in Australia

A man in Australia has the coronavirus, officials have said.

The man arrived in Melbourne from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou about a week ago, authorities said.


Five tested in Australia

Health officials in New South Wales said on Saturday morning that five people were being tested for the coronavirus.

Two other people have been discharged after returning negative results on Friday. Another two people in Queensland are also being assessed for the virus.

The Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, said the government was advising people not to travel to and from Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

A flight arrived in Sydney direct from Wuhan on Thursday before the Chinese city’s airport was closed.

Here’s the full story from our reporter in Sydney, Ben Doherty.

Welcome to our live coverage of the Sars-like coronavirus outbreak. To start is off, these are the main developments in the last few hours:

China said on Saturday morning that the death toll has risen to 41 with 1,287 affected.
Thirteen cities with a population of 36 million people are in lockdown as the government tries to stop the virus from spreading as China enters the lunar new year holiday.
Chinese state TV said the authorities were going to take stricter and more targeted measures to curb the spread.
The virus, which began in the central city of Wuhan, has now spread to much of east and south-east Asia, including South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.
Three cases have been recorded in France and the health minister said more were expected
In the UK, 2,000 travellers who have arrived recently from Wuhan are being sought. Fourteen people tested negative for the virus.
Five people are being tested in the Australian state of New South Wales.
Catch up with the development in full with our main news wrap from our correspondent Rebecca Ratcliffe here.

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