** The deaths include the first reported outside the epicentre around Wuhan
** Number of infected doctors and nurses higher than reported, sources say
The coronavirus discovered in the city of Wuhan has spread to all but two of China’s 31 provinces, indicating that efforts to stem the outbreak with travel bans and cancellations of flights and rail services were failing.
As of Friday night, there had been 895 cases of infection and 26 deaths in mainland China, according to Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily and Dxy.com, one of the country’s biggest online network of doctors.
The deaths included the first reported outside the epicentre of Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. One was in the northern Hebei province, neighbouring Beijing, and another was in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, about 2,400km (about 1,500 miles) from Wuhan.
Official reports said 15 medical staff in Wuhan had been infected, but two sources with direct knowledge of the situation said the number of infected doctors and nurses was much higher.
In response to the rapidly growing number of infections, China had shut down outbound transport from 13 cities and counties in Hubei by Friday morning, according to China National Radio.
Health officials have warned on nationwide broadcasts that people should avoid traditional family reunions and other public gatherings during the Lunar New Year period that starts on Saturday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday stopped short of declaring the outbreak a global public health emergency, but said that it would monitor the situation closely.
The outbreak is “an emergency in China”, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference in Geneva. “But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”
What we know about China’s mystery Wuhan coronavirus
Confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have been found in several Asian countries, as well as the United States.
New infections were confirmed on Friday in South Korea and Japan, while Singapore and Vietnam declared their first cases on Thursday. Other places outside mainland China reporting individuals carrying the virus were Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
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And, if this isn't bad enough, according to Dr. Henry Niman , a world renowned expert Virologist, a second person in the US - Chicago - has been confirmed with having it.
Second travel-related case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus detected in United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed the second infection with 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States has been detected in Illinois.
The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019.
The patient returned to the U.S. from Wuhan on January 13, 2020, and called a health care provider after experiencing symptoms a few days later. The patient was admitted to a hospital, where infection control measures were taken to reduce the risk of transmission to other individuals. The patient remains hospitalized in an isolation room in stable condition and is doing well.
Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, health care professionals suspected 2019-nCoV. A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC, where laboratory testing confirmed the infection. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the
Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating locations where this patient went after returning to Illinois and are identifying any close contacts who were possibly exposed.
The patient has limited close contacts, all of whom are currently well and who will be monitored for symptoms. Since returning from China, the patient has had very limited movement outside the home.
CDC is taking aggressive public health measures to help protect the health of Americans. While CDC considers this a serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time.
CDC is working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and other local partners. A CDC team has been deployed to support the ongoing investigation.
But just wait, because it even gets more crazy.
Chinese Lab That Studies “World’s Most Dangerous Pathogens” is Based in Wuhan
A biosafety level 4 laboratory that studies the “world’s most dangerous pathogens” is based in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, leading some to claim that the virus could have accidentally escaped the lab.
In a 2017 article, Nature reported on the Medical Research Institute at Wuhan University, which houses the biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) lab, which cost 300 million yuan (US$44 million) to set up.
The purpose of the lab included a plan to study “the pathogen that causes SARS,” prompting Nature to cite worries about preventing viruses from escaping the lab.
“The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times,” notes the article, referencing Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University.
Zero Hedge questioned whether the lab in Wuhan may be “China’s version of Umbrella Corp,” a reference to the pharmaceutical company in the Resident Evil universe which secretly developed bio-weapons.
According to their article, the location of the research center in Wuhan “prompts the immediate question whether the coronavirus epidemic isn’t a weaponized virus that just happened to escape the lab.”
The official explanation is that the coronavirus originated from an illegal seafood market in Wuhan that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals.”
Given that the market sold bats and snakes, with scientists linking snakes to the virus, and Chinese people consume both as food, that explanation still remains the most likely.