Published: Wed, February 05, 2020
Medical | By Mark Scott

U.S. confirms 11th nCoV case; 82 awaiting test results

U.S. confirms 11th nCoV case; 82 awaiting test results

The coronavirus is "very, very transmissible, and it nearly certainly is going to be a pandemic", Anthony Fauci, the director of the US's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The New York Timeson Sunday.

The spokesperson added that despite the relatively large number of people infected, the death rate from the virus in China is rather low, only 2.1 percent, which is far lower compared to other infections like Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Chinese scientists said they have more evidence the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan in December, likely originated in bats. Scientists suspect the latest outbreak began at a seafood market in Wuhan where wild animals were on sale and in contact with people. The last one was in connection with a smallpox outbreak.

This handout photo taken and released on February 4, 2020 by Malaysia's Ministry of Health shows health workers putting on protective suits as Malaysian nationals arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, after being evacuated from China's Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a meeting late Monday of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Chinese leader Xi Jinping reportedly warned that anyone who tried to dodge their responsibilities during the crisis would be punished.

All but one of those deaths were in China; on Saturday, a man in the Philippines became the first to die of the virus outside China.

Other countries are continuing evacuations and restricting the entry of Chinese or people who have recently travelled in the country. As many as 9,000 medical workers could join the bigger walkout Tuesday to demand closure of the border across which tens of thousands of people continue to travel daily.

During the telebriefing, Messonnier stressed that there's likely to be more cases of person-to-person transmission of coronavirus in the USA, which is awaiting the test results of some 82 suspected cases.

A 1,500-bed hospital also specially built for patients infected with the new virus is due to open within days.

To curb the spread of the virus, Chinese officials started closing off travel to and from Wuhan on January 23. Messonnier said that the 167 other potential cases have tested negative for the virus.

Robert Webster, an infectious-disease expert at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, told The Associated Press on Sunday that "it sounds and looks as if it's going to be a very highly transmissible virus".

That pathogen killed 349 people in China and hundreds more in Hong Kong and overseas.

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