Coronavirus: UK Cobra committee to meet as China death toll rises to 26 – live news

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Possible cases being tested in Scotland and Belfast, as World Health Organisation committee says it is ‘too early’ to declare emergency

11.29am GMT

The Chinese military has released a handbook on Pneumonia Prevention and Control of New Coronavirus Infection, which Chinese media are encouraging people to forward to their circle of friends on social media.

The 16-page document comes with cartoon figures of heroic Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) figures and includes guidance on hygiene and disease prevention.

Let a hundred vaccines bloom..
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) declares war on the #coronoavirus

11.13am GMT

The British government’s Cobra emergency committee will meet today to discus Coronovirus, according to the UK prime minister’s spokesperson.

Meanwhile, a letter from Britain’s chief medical officer to clinical staff warns that the “mass movement” of people within and outside China associated with the upcoming Chinese new year celebrations may “amplify transmission”.

10.55am GMT

At the UN briefing in Geneva, a WHO spokesperson has said that it is too early to draw conclusions on how serious the outbreak is.

“We may see more mild cases as surveillance intensifies. So the issue is not so much on numbers that we know will go up,” he added.

10.29am GMT

The second confirmed case in Japan of the new coronavirus transited from Hong Kong to Japan by plane and Hong Kong’s health authority needs to track the flight and passengers now, according to Wong Ka-hing, director of Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection.

Xinqi Su, a Hong Kong based AFP correspondent, reports that the patient took Cathay Dragon’s KA855 from Wuhan to Hong Kong on 19 January and then transited from Hong Kong to Japan on Cathay Pacific’s CX58.

10.19am GMT

Thailand has confirmed its fifth case of the new coronavirus, a senior public health official said.

“The patient is a 33-year-old woman from Wuhan on vacation,” the deputy public health minister Sathit Patucha told Reuters, adding that she was under quarantine at Rajavithi hospital and her condition was improving.

10.13am GMT

McDonald’s says it is suspending business in five cities in China’s Hubei province, centre of the virus outbreak.

10.12am GMT

Two tourists visiting Finland from Wuhan in China are suspected of being infected with the coronavirus, according to YLE, Finland’s state broadcaster.

The pair went to a health centre in Ivalo, northern Finland, to seek treatment for flu-like symptoms on Thursday night.

10.09am GMT

The situation is a “rapidly evolving” one which is being monitored closely but the current risk to the population in the UK is low, according to a new blog on the website of Public Health England, a state body.

It answers a number of questions it says many people have. They include:

9.56am GMT

Beijing’s city government is urging people who return to the Chinese capital from areas affected by the coronavirus outbreak to stay at home for 14 days, according to local reports.

Meanwhile, sections of China’s Great Wall near Beijing will be closed to visitors from Saturday.

9.51am GMT

Tributes have been paid to one of the WHO’s executive directors, Dr Peter Salama, who has died. For clarity, Salama’s death is unrelated to the coronavirus.

A medical epidemiologist from Australia, he led the Health Emergencies Programme at WHO from 2016 to 2019 and has led research and published extensively on vaccine-preventable diseases, HIV, nutrition, war-related mortality and violence, refugee and emergency health, and programming in fragile states.

Words cannot express our sorrow. We grieve together with Dr Salama’s family during this difficult time.

9.46am GMT

Flights to Moscow from the Chinese city of Wuhan have been suspended over fears about the spread of the coronavirus strain, according to Interfax news agency.

Earlier this week Russia’s healthcare ministry described the virus as a biological hazard, with the deputy minister Sergei Krayevoy saying the virus was a “striking example” of the biological threats Russia faced.

9.34am GMT

The regular press briefing (livestream) from the UN’s office in Geneva is just about to start and the virus is expected to feature in questions.

There was some confusion in reports elsewhere about it. It’s not a WHO briefing.

9.28am GMT

Walt Disney Co’s Shanghai Disney Resort will be closed until further notice in response to the outbreak.

Shanghai Disney Resort closes from Saturday till further notice.

9.24am GMT

Here’s a video explainer from the Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, in which she answers some of the most common and pressing questions surrounding the outbreak.

9.21am GMT

A former Mexican government minister who oversaw the country’s response to the H1N1 flu virus during the aftermath in 2010 has said that containing panic around the coronavirus outbreak is as important as stemming the virus itself.

Gloria Guevara, who is now president/CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), based in London, said it could have a damaging and lasting economic impact on the global travel and tourism sector unless lessons were learned from previous viral epidemics.

A call for caution please. Media are escalating anxiety by talking of a “killer virus” + “growing fears”. In truth, from what we currently know, 2019-nCoV has moderate transmissibility and relatively low pathogenicity. There is no reason to foster panic with exaggerated language.

9.05am GMT

The World Health Organization’s decision on Thursday not to class the virus as an “international emergency”, partly because of the low number of overseas cases, has surprised some experts.

However, others have recognised that the WHO’s position on declaring a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) was a “finely balanced one”. That’s a view taken by Sir Jeremy Farrar, a medical researcher at the medical charity the Wellcome Trust.

8.27am GMT

China has added four more cities to its transport ban, affecting 41 million people, according to the AFP news agency.

On the eve of China’s lunar new year, transportation had been shut down already in at least 10 cities with a total of about 33 million people. The cities are Wuhan, where the illness has been concentrated, and nine of its neighbours in central China’s Hubei province.

8.15am GMT

It is “highly likely” that there will be cases of the virus in the UK, according to Prof Paul Cosford, medical director for Public Health England, an arm of the NHS that has tested 14 people so far.

Specialist treatment centres in various parts of the country have already been designated and authorities are focusing on providing information, with a particular focus on communities such as Chinese students.

8.05am GMT

It was confirmed last night that two people diagnosed with flu were being tested for the virus in Scotland, where three others are also being tested on a precautionary basis.

At least three of the patients are believed to be Chinese nationals.

7.53am GMT

The first version of a vaccine has already entered laboratories at the global pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson but it will be close to year before vaccines are available publicly from drugs companies.

That’s according to Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, and Richard Hatchett, ceo of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is funding two of projects and co-funding the third to develop vaccines.

7.43am GMT

Singapore has confirmed two more cases of the new strain of coronavirus, its health ministry said on Friday, a day after identifying its first case of the infection that originated from China.

The ministry said it expected more imported cases because of high travel volume from China, Reuters reports. Singapore’s tally of confirmed cases is now three.

7.27am GMT

Fewer people have been turning up at dedicated fever clinics in Wuhan, according to western reporters on the ground in the city.

They include Chris Buckley of the New York Times and Tom Hancock of the FT, who has tweeted some before and after pictures of one of the hospitals he visited on Friday.

Agree with @ChuBailiang that there are fewer people showing up to dedicated fever clinics in Wuhan today. Here’s a before and after of the same hospital on Thursday/Friday afternoon.

7.10am GMT

Yichang City, also in Hubei province, is going to impose transport restrictions, according to the Global Times.

7.08am GMT

In the UK, 14 people have been tested for suspected coronavirus. So far five have been cleared and nine are still waiting for test results.

Public Health England has not given a breakdown of where the people were tested but Downing Street said four of the suspected cases in Scotland were believed to be Chinese nationals. Another patient is understood to have been tested at Belfast’s Royal Victoria hospital.

6.53am GMT

Rebecca Ratcliffe and Lillian Yang in Beijing have pulled together the latest on the chaos and despair in hospitals across Wuhan, as the lockdown spreads to encompass at least 20 million people.

Related: Coronavirus: Chinese hospitals in chaos as lockdown spreads to affect 20m people

6.30am GMT

6.23am GMT

Reuters is reporting that Shanghai Disney will be closed to help prevent the spread of the virus.

6.06am GMT

Cinemas will suspend their operations in Guangdong province until the end of the holiday season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The film administrative authority in Guangdong Province released an emergency notice on Friday requiring cinemas in the province to suspend their operations immediately until the end of the Spring Festival holidays to contain the spread of #WuhanCoronavirus

6.00am GMT

Health officials in Hong Kong gave their daily press briefing about the coronavirus outbreak fully masked.

#NOW – health officials in hk now masked up during daily press conference on #CoronavirusOutbreak

5.54am GMT

Related: Wuhan: the city of 11 million at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak

5.41am GMT

In Australia, researchers at the University of Queensland are racing to develop a vaccine for coronavirus.

According to AAP:

The Queensland team is one of three around the world asked to plant their foot on the accelerator and use new technologies to get a vaccine on to the market fast.

If they can replicate what they’ve done in labs with other viruses, including related influenza and Ebola, it’s possible the world could have a shield against coronavirus within six months.

The University of Queensland team is confident they’ll get there with recently patented DNA-based molecular clamp technology.

It involves using the DNA sequence of the coronavirus – released by China after the outbreak – to produce a protein that’s the same as the one on the surface of the actual virus.

5.34am GMT

5.25am GMT

Reuters reports:

A total of 10 cities in China’s central Hubei province have suspended some public transportation over the coronavirus outbreak, the Hubei Daily reported on Friday.

Buses in cities of Chibi, Xiantao, Zhijiang, Qianjiang, Xianning, Huangshi and Enshi have suspended services.

4.51am GMT

“It has been splashed all over the front pages of newspapers around the world for days,” writes Guardian contributor Michael Standaert in Sichuan. “But the outbreak of coronavirus, which has left at least 25 dead and infected more than 800, has been largely missing from China’s major state-run media.”

Friday’s front page of the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist party’s flagship newspaper, displayed only warm wishes for lunar new year’s eve from the president, Xi Jinping, as he attended a spring festival gala at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

News of the coronavirus outbreak has also been buried during prime time CCTV news over the past two evenings, featuring as the fifth or sixth item on the daily 7pm bulletin.

Related: Chinese state media downplays coronavirus as Xi strikes positive tone

4.40am GMT

Chinese officials have confirmed another person has died from novel coronavirus, the second person to do so outside the province of Hubei, the epicentre of the virus, bringing the official death toll to 26.

The death was in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, which borders Russia and is some 2,000 km (1,200 miles) from Wuhan, the local government said. 24 deaths have occurred in Hubei.

4.23am GMT

Footage has emerged online of the quarantine measures being taken in China to halt the spread of the virus, including overcrowded hospitals, sick people collapsing, and barricades going up across Wuhan.

4.19am GMT

State media is now reporting 26 deaths from the coronavirus in China, not 25.

Nervous sentiment is spreading in China. 830 cases of coronavirus have been reported. Among 26 deaths, nearly half are aged above 80. Good news is some relatively young patients are getting better.

4.07am GMT

3.59am GMT

The People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist party’s main newspaper, has called upon people who have recently been to Wuhan to isolate themselves at home, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The statement was made on Weibo, where people have shared panicked calls for those from Wuhan to take greater precautions to avoid infecting others.

3.49am GMT

More information has been released regarding the second person to be confirmed with novel coronavirus in South Korea.

Seoul’s health ministry said on Friday that a South Korean man in his 50s started experiencing symptoms on 10 January while working in Wuhan, AFP reports.

3.43am GMT

3.30am GMT

Armoured police vehicle at the Beijing international airport today, just outside the departure hall. Not sure if this is a spring festival or coronavirus measure.

3.27am GMT

A new 1000-bed hospital is being built in Wuhan specifically to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and authorities plan to have it running by Monday, state media outlet Changjiang Daily reports.

Construction began on Thursday night with machinery, including 35 diggers and 10 bulldozers, arriving at the site.

3.13am GMT

The Australian government’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, has confirmed that there are still no verified cases of coronavirus in Australia.

In a press conference this afternoon, Murphy attempted to downplay the threat of the virus in Australia, saying that while there are several people who are being regularly tested for the disease, none of them have tested positive yet. Australia is prepared and has the capacity to isolate those people if necessary, he said.

2.43am GMT

Some stark pictures of the lockdown experience in Wuhan have been circulating on Twitter over the last 24 hours thanks to the New York Times’ Chris Buckley.

This is Wuhan tonight.

Friday is the eve of the Lunar New Year celebrations 除夕 and it’s going to be a melancholy and worrisome time for many in China. In Wuhan I’ve run into several migrant workers from Henan who can’t leave. But what about those who have already left to home towns and villages?

2.35am GMT

Schools in Singapore are asking parents and staff to provide details of travel during the lunar new year holidays, in a measure aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus, Reuters reports.

The first case of coronavirus was confirmed there on Thursday: a 66-year-old Chinese national, who lives in Wuhan and arrived in Singapore from Guangzhou on Monday night.

2.21am GMT

An insight, via US news network CNN, into the way the first person diagnosed with the virus in the States is being treated, and the measures being taken to isolate him and prevent the spread of the disease.

The man arrived at the hospital in a special isolated gurney called an ISOPOD and has been treated in a two-bed isolated area, says Dr. George Diaz, chief of the infectious disease division at the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington.

2.17am GMT

Here’s a handy explainer on what exactly the coronavirus is and how dangerous it could be:

Related: What is the coronavirus and how worried should we be?

2.15am GMT

2.13am GMT

Canadian acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil has announced that its shows in Hangzhou, China are canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The call was made in response to Chinese officials’ requests to close all indoor activities with 100 or more people in attendance in order to contain the outbreak, the company said in a statement.

2.11am GMT

Details of how cities in China are trying to control the spread of coronavirus are emerging. In Wuhan taxis are now only allowed to carry two passengers at a time. In Hubei province travel agencies have been told to suspend their tours.

1.55am GMT

In Australia, New South Wales Health has confirmed it is investigating four possible cases of coronavirus in the state, according to the national broadcaster, the ABC.

Health authorities in the northern state of Queensland, meanwhile, are assessing two people amid concerns they may have contracted the virus. Four others have been cleared.

1.43am GMT

#Breaking Starting from 10 am Friday, Huangshi, another city in Hubei Province, would suspend ferry and bus operation, close the Yangtze river bridge and stop passenger traffic.

1.28am GMT

A bit more new information about what’s happening in China. The National Health Commission said that in addition to the 830 confirmed cases, authorities were also examining 1,072 suspected cases of the virus, according to AFP.

Out of the total 830 confirmed cases, 177 were in serious condition. 34 people have been “cured and discharged”.

1.14am GMT

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post is reporting today that medical staff are being infected with coronavirus at a much faster rate than previously reported. The SCMP does not identify its two sources but they dispute the Chinese Centre for Disease Control’s assessment that 15 hospital staff had been infected in Wuhan city, saying 14 staff had been infected in one hospital alone.

The Chinese government has been accused of downplaying the severity of the outbreak by residents who point to its repeated assurances that the virus was not serious, was “controllable”, and the fact that Wuhan has only just now been put into lockdown, even as cases of the virus have been reported in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States.

1.00am GMT

We’re already getting a glimpse of what the Friday morning papers will look like over in the UK. Unsurprisingly, coronavirus is leading or supporting most of the coverage.

“Is the killer virus here?” shrieks the headline on the Daily Mail.

MAIL: Is the killer virus here? Plus: Why do these lesser rent a royals always want more? #TomorrowsPapersToday

MIRROR: Killer Virus: 6 tested in Britain PLUS ⁦@vicderbyshire⁩ : I’m devastated #TomorrowsPapersToday

THE TIMES: Growing fears over virus as tests begin in Britain #TomorrowsPapersToday

INDEPENDENT DIGITAL: Criminal probe over baby deaths at maternity unit #TomorrowsPapersToday

THE GUARDIAN: HS2 late and billions over budget due to Tory failures, report finds #TomorrowsPapersToday

DAILY TELEGRAPH: Police give up on charging thieves #TomorrowsPapersToday

12.41am GMT

Hello, this is Stephanie Convery in Australia, taking over from my colleague Nadeem Badshah in London.

The Chinese government has just confirmed the death toll from novel coronavirus has risen to 25, and the number of confirmed cases in the country now sits at 830, according to the National Health Commission.

12.31am GMT

12.14am GMT

As the death toll from the new coronavirus climbs, questions remain about how it spread to humans and how much of a threat it poses across the world.

Cases have been confirmed in the US, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, while there are understood to be at least fourteen suspected cases tested in the UK, with five confirmed negative.

11.25pm GMT

Japan’s health ministry said it had confirmed the country’s second case of a novel coronavirus strain in a man who travelled from Wuhan.

In a statement, the ministry said the man in his 40s was a resident of the Chinese city where the outbreak began and arrived in Japan on January 19.

10.58pm GMT

Fourteen people in the UK have been tested for coronavirus, Public Health England said.

Five people tested negative and nine are still awaiting the results.

10.56pm GMT

A person in Australia has been quarantined and will undergo testing after being suspected of contracting the coronavirus, according to reports.

The person was placed into quarantine in an unnamed hospital and will have tests on Friday, a New South Wales Ministry of Health spokesperson told

10.44pm GMT

10.05pm GMT

Authorities in Texas are investigating a second suspected case on US soil of the coronavirus virus, officials said.

Brazos County, northwest of Houston, “is investigating a suspected case of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” officials wrote in a statement on Facebook.

9.50pm GMT

Martin Hibberd, Professor of Emerging Infectious Disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has given his view on the World Health Organisation not declaring the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.

He said: “This announcement is not surprising as more evidence may be needed to make the case of announcing a PHEIC.

9.36pm GMT

Programmes to speed up the development of vaccines against coronavirus have received a funding boost.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), partially financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will fund three programmes with the aim being to advance nCoV-2019 vaccine candidates into clinical testing as quickly as possible.

8.07pm GMT

An 18th person in China has died from the virus.

The 80-year-old man died in Hebei province, near the capital Beijing, on Wednesday.

7.49pm GMT

Dr Jeremy Farrar, a medical researcher and director of The Wellcome Trust, said it respects the advice of the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee to not declare a global emergency but says this must be kept under constant review.

He said: “Countries should act now on the recommendations made by the committee on how best to prepare and respond to this epidemic. There is no need to wait.

7.40pm GMT

An Italian singer was hospitalised after showing “suspected symptoms’’ of the coronavirus including a cough and fever.

She started feeling sick after returning home from a tour of Asia that included the area of Wuhan.

7.37pm GMT

Universities across the UK say they are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak as one institution warned students thinking of heading home for the Chinese New Year that they would face being quarantined on their return.

The University of Chester said it has notified its students currently in the UK that if they return to China for Chinese New Year they will not be readmitted without a suitable quarantine period.

7.23pm GMT

Top experts on infectious diseases held a hastily-arranged press conference on the Coronavirus at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier today.

Jeremy Farrar, of the Wellcome Trust, gave reporters a swift explanation — about how the virus probably jumped from bats to humans at a market in Wutan, before then starting to spread between humans.

7.04pm GMT

Advice from the WHO

Reduce your risk of #coronavirus infection

7.03pm GMT

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, said 584 cases have been reported to the WHO including 17 deaths, which is lower than the previously reported figure.

Some 575 of the overall cases and all the deaths reported are in China.

6.55pm GMT

Peter Piot, professor of global health and director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, believes we are at a critical phase in the outbreak.

He said: “Regardless of the decision not to declare this a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, intensified international collaboration and more resources will be crucial to stopping this outbreak in its tracks.

6.51pm GMT

The Boarding Schools Association (BSA) has issued guidance to its members that while there seems to be “no immediate cause for concern” over the coronavirus outbreak, the situation needs to be monitored carefully.

It said: “In particular, schools might wish to consider planning for the eventuality that some boarders either cannot or choose not to travel home at half-term or, more likely, Easter.

6.36pm GMT

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergency committee has concluded it is “too early” to declare an international public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said: “Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China.

6.23pm GMT

Five people in Scotland are being tested for coronavirus as a precaution, the Scottish government said.

A Scottish government spokeswoman confirmed that two people diagnosed with flu were now being tested for the virus while three others are also being tested on a precautionary basis.

6.17pm GMT

Universities UK, the representative organisation for the sector, said: “UK universities with students in affected areas have been closely monitoring the coronavirus situation as it unfolds and will follow the latest FCO advice.

“We can confirm that this afternoon Universities UK International was in contact with Public Health England to discuss how we can support them in getting communications to our members.”

6.08pm GMT

Hi, I’m Nadeem Badshah, taking over from my colleague Damien Gayle. Here’s where we are so far:

6.04pm GMT

A spokesman for Boris Johnson said the government will keep the coronavirus situation under continuous review.

5.47pm GMT

Stocks fell on Wall Street in midday trading Thursday as investors worried that a deadly virus outbreak in China could continue spreading and hurt the global economy, the Associated Press reports.

Banks and other financial companies led the losses. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.72% from 1.77% late Wednesday. Financial institutions rely on higher bond yields to set lucrative interest rates on mortgages and other loans. Bank of America fell 1.5%.

5.44pm GMT

Three people in Scotland are being tested for suspected coronavirus after travelling to the country from Wuhan in China, Sarah Boseley reports.

A statement from the Scottish government said there were three suspect cases.

5.42pm GMT

Tests are being undertaken to rule out coronavirus at a hospital in Belfast, PA Media reports.

It is understood a patient did arrive at the Royal Victoria in the west of the city showing symptoms which may or may not be associated with the condition but it will be some time before results are returned.

5.20pm GMT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has followed the UK foreign office in warning people to avoid all non-essential to Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak.

CDC raised its travel alert for the coronavirus outbreak to a level 3.

5.13pm GMT

China’s Hebei provincial health authority said a patient infected with the new coronavirus has died, marking the first confirmed death outside Hubei province where the outbreak began.

The Health Commission of Hebei Province said in a statement dated Thursday that the patient, 80, died on Wednesday but was not confirmed to have been infected with the virus until Thursday, Reuters reports.

5.10pm GMT

Airports around the world are implementing screening checks for passengers with potential coronavirus infections.

Italy received its latest direct flight from Wuhan on Thursday morning, with 202 passengers directed through a special “health channel” at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, where they were subject to body temperature checks.

4.40pm GMT

A number of universities in Scotland have student exchange arrangements with Chinese institutions, Libby Brooks reports.

Glasgow University has a partnership agreement with the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan, where the current outbreak began, with 23 students currently studying at Glasgow on that programme. The university issued guidance to its students yesterday to follow the advice being issued on the Coronavirus outbreak, adding: “We are conscious that our students may have family and friends in the locality and our thoughts are with anyone who may have been affected”.

4.28pm GMT

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its advice for Britons planning to travel to China, warning against “all but essential travel to Wuhan.”

The FCO’s advice, updated yesterday and still current, says:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Wuhan city, Hubei Province. This is due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. Public Health England has offered advice to travellers. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities.

The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell.

For those travelling back directly from Wuhan, this includes a Port Health team who will meet each direct flight aircraft to provide advice and support to those that feel unwell. The team will include the Principal Port Medical Inspector, Port Health Doctor, Administrative Support, and Team Leader.

4.17pm GMT

Top experts on infectious diseases have held a hastily-arranged press conference on the Coronavirus at the World Economic Forum this afternoon, reports Graeme Wearden in Davos.

Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust gave reporters a swift explanation — about how the virus probably jumped from bats to humans at a market in Wutan, before then starting to spread between humans.

We want to keep a calm, moderated approach, but we need to take this incredibly seriously

This will become a global issue. This isn’t just a China issue, it’s going to affect us all.

Related: Davos 2020: Greta Thunberg hits back at US treasury secretary – live updates

4.13pm GMT

Three separate research teams backed by a global coalition set up to fight epidemic diseases are to start work on developing potential vaccines against the new coronavirus that has caused a disease outbreak in China, Reuters reports.

Developing new vaccines has traditionally taken up to a decade, but the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is funding two of the projects and co-funding the third, said the aim now is to work much faster.

Its plan is to have at least one potential vaccine in clinical trials by June, offering the chance that a shot could fully developed, tested and approved for use in a year.

4.09pm GMT

Five Chinese cities have been put on lockdown and Beijing has cancelled a number of major public events in an attempt to contain the spread of a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Authorities banned transport links from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on Thursday morning, suspending buses, subways, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers. Later in the day, the nearby central Chinese cities of Huanggang, Ezhou and Chiba also announced traffic restrictions to prevent residents from leaving.

Related: Coronavirus: five Chinese cities locked down and Beijing festivities scrapped

4.04pm GMT

It is a novel coronavirus – that is to say, a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before.

Related: What is the Wuhan coronavirus and how worried should we be?

3.58pm GMT

In case you have not been following the story of the coronavirus outbreak, here is an outline of the past three weeks of developments, since first reports began emerging from China at the beginning of the month.

It is around three weeks since the first cases emerged in Wuhan, east China of an unexplained viral pneumonia, sparking fears of a recurrence of the Sars outbreak of 2002-03 that killed more than 700 people.

3.36pm GMT

At first minister’s questions this morning, Nicola Sturgeon gave assurances that the Scottish government and its health protection agency were closely monitoring the situation. She said:

I should say that the risk to the public in Scotland and, indeed, in the United Kingdom is currently classified as low, but obviously that is kept under review. Health Protection Scotland is liaising with National Health Service boards and is currently in daily contact with Public Health England and liaising daily with colleagues in the UK Department of Health and Social Care. We are also paying close attention to the decisions of and advice from the World Health Organization.

Enhanced monitoring measures have been implemented for flights from Wuhan city to Heathrow. Those will involve each flight being met by a port health team, who will check for symptoms of coronavirus and provide information to all passengers. We are considering whether any further information could helpfully be provided at Scottish airports. Obviously, the situation is evolving and we will monitor it extremely closely. The cabinet secretary for health and sport or I will ensure that parliament is appropriately updated in the days and weeks to come.

3.18pm GMT

Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.

In the latest developments, three people in Scotland are being tested for the virus, as the World Health Organization’s emergency committee meets for a second day to decide whether to categorise the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

Continue reading…
Source: china
Link : Coronavirus: UK Cobra committee to meet as China death toll rises to 26 – live news



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