Published: Mon, January 20, 2020
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Indian schoolteacher becomes first foreigner to contract SARS-like virus in China

Indian schoolteacher becomes first foreigner to contract SARS-like virus in China

"At the moment they're thinking it's not so well transmitted between people, but it's very very early days", she said.

The 17 new patients began exhibiting symptoms such as a fever or cough before January 13, the statement said.

"That would be the worst case scenario, that's spread through the air, highly infectious, spreads to lots and lots of people and really deadly, and so that's what people are watching for and we've been lucky it hasn't been one of those so far".

Other countries, including Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan, have also announced measures to strengthen entry detection measures as the Lunar New Year approaches: peak migration season when large numbers of Chinese travelers are going to travel across Asia.

At least three other cases have surfaced outside of China, including one in Japan and two now confirmed in Thailand.

The unknown virus however is from the same large family of coronaviruses that includes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed almost 800 people globally during a 2002-03 outbreak that also started in China.

In the most recently diagnosed group, ages ranged between 30 and 79, Wuhan's health commission said.

The UK'S Medical Research Council (MRC) has said that there could be as many as 1,700 cases in Wuhan city, and expressed concern about the 19 million people served by Wuhan airport that could facilitate the spread of the virus.

In total, 62 cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in the city of Wuhan, where the virus appears to have originated.

It said: "It is likely that the Wuhan outbreak of a novel coronavirus has caused substantially more cases of moderate or severe respiratory illness than now reported".

A 45-year-old Indian woman has become the first foreigner in China to have contracted a mysterious virus, which is suspected to be Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like corona virus.

At New York's JFK International Airport late Friday, the first passengers to be screened were on China Southern Airlines Flight 8419, flying directly from Wuhan to New York.

There is no vaccine for the new virus.

Infectious disease experts at Imperial College London have calculated that the number of cases in Wuhan alone is approaching 1,700.

News about the outbreak was trending on Weibo, a microblogging platform in China, on Sunday morning.

Its National Health Commission warned, however, that close monitoring was needed given the source, transmission and mutation methods were unknown.

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