First Case of Coronavirus From China Reportedly Confirmed in Singapore

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In response, Chinese authorities have shut down transport from and within Wuhan, as well as the cities of Huanggang and Ezhou, essentially quarantining 20 million people.

France reported two cases on Friday evening, the first ones discovered in Europe.

Beijing's city government said they would provide more information "as the epidemic situation evolves".

Wuhan has gone into lockdown, along with another Chinese city, Huanggang. Almost all flights at Wuhan's airport have been cancelled and checkpoints block the main roads leading out of town. The city is rushing to build a 1,000-bed hospital by Monday, state media said.

"The virus is now spreading at an alarming rate". Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the new virus.

Other Scottish universities have given general advice to students travelling to China and said anyone who has been in China, or other areas where incidents of infection have been reported, within the last 14 days, and is experiencing respiratory symptoms, to contact their GP or NHS 24.

"It's too early to consider this as a public health emergency of global concern", Didier Houssin, the chair of the emergency advisory committee, said, noting that the panel "was very divided, nearly 50-50".

Airports around the globe, including here in Canada, like Vancouver International and Pearson International, have stepped up screening measures to try and determine if someone entering the country has been infected by the coronavirus or not.

Scientists have identified the illness as a new kind of coronavirus.

Those who have died from the virus, meanwhile, have had underlying health issues, he said, such as "hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease that weakened their immune systems".

As of Thursday, China's National Health Commission said there were 830 confirmed cases and 26 deaths. Mutations have the possibility of making a virus more deadly or contagious. China reported its 18 death on Thursday just before the press briefing.

What's more, "It is likely that we will see more cases in other parts of China and other countries", he told reporters. It did not give further details.

Adding to the urgency to curtail the spread is the start of Lunar New Year on Friday, when hundreds of thousands of Chinese travel across the country and overseas.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Mounting fears about the outbreak have roiled financial markets, and the Shanghai Composite Index had the worst end to a Lunar Year in its three-decade history.

"However, I doubt that this will happen, though we still do need to take the outbreak seriously and monitor the situation carefully".

China has also closed several tourism attractions and cultural sites including Beijing's Forbidden City, which saw 19 million visitors previous year.

Film premieres have been postponed and McDonald's suspended business in five cities in Hubei province.

Infections have also started to crop up around China, with millions of people expected to travel around and from the country for the Lunar New Year holidays, which begin this week.

On Thursday night, the World Health Organisation's emergency committee said it was "too early" to declare an worldwide public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.

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