China rushes to build new hospital for virus within 10 days

Provided by CBS SF Bay Area

Provided by CBS SF Bay Area

The World Health Organisation has said it is "too early" to declare an emergency.

Airports are adding passenger screenings and taking other precautions to prevent a new virus from being spread by Chinese tourists going overseas for the Lunar New Year holidays.

The Federal Government's chief medical officer says there are several people in Australia who are being tested "every day" for the deadly coronavirus.

A 36-year-old man in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has become the latest-and youngest-victim of the new coronavirus outbreak, local health authorities announced Friday. The Lunar New Year on Saturday is expected to draw large numbers of Chinese travelers, he said.

But on Friday Wuhan was a ghost town, its streets deserted and stores shuttered.

Those infected display symptoms ranging from the common cold to severe lung infections, and current countermeasures, like the wearing of face masks, mass disinfection and temperature screening of travellers, have thus far been unable to stop the spread.

"Have you registered? Then go and see the doctor", the staffer said.

The World Health Organization stopped short of calling it a global health emergency, while officials here have said Canadians are at low risk of contracting the illness.

"I don't know the results yet".

With hundreds of millions of people on the move across China for the holiday, the government has halted all travel out of Wuhan, shut down public transport and told residents to stay home.

San Francisco International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in NY are the only two in the country that receive direct flights from Wuhan, officials said. Chinese leaders tried to mollify the public by reassigning the Beijing party secretary and began daily announcements about new cases.

Preliminary research suggested that in the most recent stage of its evolution, the Wuhan virus was passed on to humans from snakes.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last.

The five other cities under lockdown as of Friday morning are near Wuhan, but authorities were taking precautions around the country. The cities of Ezhou, Huanggang and Lichuan also introduced measures.

The "novel coronavirus" dubbed 2019-nCoV, has caused alarm in part because it belongs to the same family as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which emerged from southern China in 2002 and killed almost 800 people.

In the city of Wuhan, where most cases have occurred, the race to build a new 1,000-bed hospital in just six days began on Thursday night.

The hospital, which is due to open next week, is similar to those established in Beijing in 2003, when the city faced a Sars outbreak that killed almost 800 people and reached nearly 30 countries.

Thermal cameras scanned passengers arriving at Beijing's West Railway Station.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus has risen to 830, the National Health Commission said. This is quite high but it may be because authorities are not aware of milder cases of the disease.

After the city of Wuhan entered a state of lockdown yesterday, tech companies in China are coming forward to help medical professionals as well as residents who are fighting the spread of the virus in the city.

According to the Centers for Disease of Control and Prevention, signs may appear as quickly as two days or as far as 14 days after exposure.

"If we all work as one, we can contain the virus in Wuhan and add no more cases exported from Wuhan, so as to stem the virus nationwide", Gao told state TV.

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