JANUARY 27, 2020 (Reuters) – The coronavirus outbreak that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, has killed 80 people in China so far and infected more than 2,750 globally, most of them in China.
The virus has caused alarm because it is still too early to know how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. Also because it is new, humans have not been able to build immunity to it.
Here is what we know so far:
• As of Jan. 27 the death toll in China had risen to 80, with 76 in Hubei province, authorities reported. Another 2,744 people in China had been infected: As of the end of Jan. 26, there were 1,423 confirmed cases in Hubei province.
• Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported eight cases of infection; the United States and Macau have five each; Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia each have reported four; France and Japan three each; Vietnam and South Korea two apiece, and one each in Canada and Nepal.
• No fatalities have been reported outside China.
• The previously unknown coronavirus strain is believed to have emerged late last year from illegally traded wildlife at an animal market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.
• The World Health Organisation said that while the outbreak was an emergency for China, it was not yet a global health emergency.
• Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Most of those affected are older people and those with underlying health conditions.
• China says the virus is mutating and can be transmitted through human contact.
• Two scientific analyses of the epidemic say each person infected is passing the disease on to between two and three other people.
• Three research teams have begun work on developing potential vaccines, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said. Scientists hope to be testing the first possible vaccines in three months’ time.
• China is testing the HIV drug Aluvia as a treatment.
• There are severe travel restrictions in Wuhan, with urban transport shut and outgoing flights suspended.
• Among other measures to contain the virus, China will halt all group tours, affecting tourism both at home and to other countries, from Jan. 27.
• Hong Kong has barred residents of Hubei province from entering the city.
• France, Italy, Japan, Australia and the United States have all said they are working to evacuate citizens from Wuhan.
• Airports around the world have stepped up screening.
• Some experts believe the virus is not as dangerous as the 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed nearly 800 people, or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has killed more than 700 people since 2012.
(Compiled by Stephen Coates; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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