First British national tests positive for coronavirus
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There is now confusion surrounding earlier reports that Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who tried to raise the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak, had died.
A Communist party-controlled newspaper, the Global Times, reported that Li had died earlier today – prompting outrage among many Chinese citizens. But the state-run newspaper subsequently deleted the report from its official Twitter account and has now claimed Li is still alive.
“Li Wenliang is currently in critical condition,” the Global Times claimed in the early hours of Friday, local time.
“His heart reportedly stopped beating at around 21:30. He was then given treatment with ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation],” it added.
A post on the official Weibo account of the hospital where Li was reportedly being treated also said he was “currently in critical condition”.
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The WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Dr Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s health emergencies programme, answered some questions from the press.
When asked to comment on the doctors and nurses striking in Hong Kong to protest the government’s decision not to close its borders with mainland China, Ghebreyesus said: “This is a time of solidarity. There is a common enemy now. A very unknown virus. And I advise all of us to focus on the virus – the common enemy.
“I can understand the pressure on health workers and that’s why Mike said they’re the heroes. I fully agree and I want them to continue being like that.”
When asked if the world was nearing the peak of the outbreak, Ghebreyesus said: “It’s too early right now to make predictions on numbers, although we are pleased it is the first day in which the overall numbers of new confirmed cases reported in China have dropped.”
He added: “We are still in the middle of an intense outbreak and we need to be very careful on making any predictions.”
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The WHO press conference on the coronavirus has ended. Here are some key takeaways:
- As of 0500 GMT today, there are 28,060 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in China and 564 deaths. Outside China, there are 225 cases in 24 countries and one death.
- WHO is asking for $675m to stop the outbreak.
- The organisation doesn’t know the source of the outbreak, doesn’t know what its natural reservoir is, nor does it properly understand its transmissibility or severity. There is also no vaccine to prevent infections nor antibiotics to treat patients.
- In the meantime, there are simple things everyone can do – such as washing hands regularly and covering your nose or your mouth with your elbow when you sneeze or cough – to help contain the outbreak.
- WHO called on countries to invest in prevention and research.
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Third UK coronavirus case caught disease outside China
The third person to be diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK contracted the disease outside of China, it has emerged.
The patient, who it is understood was diagnosed in Brighton but is being transferred to a London hospital, did not contract the disease in the UK or mainland China but another country in Asia.
The details have been confirmed by England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, who refused to disclose whether the individual was a British national or which specific country they contracted the disease in.
Speaking about the new case, Whitty said:
The person who caught this did not catch it in China, they caught it elsewhere in Asia. That’s an important point from an epidemiological point of view because […] there is now evidence of some limited transmission in a number of Asian countries.
NHS doctors are being advised to widen the pool of countries to look out for returning individuals who display symptoms.
Whitty explained: “If a doctor in the NHS sees a patient who has travelled from Asia, now they will start thinking about testing from a wider geographical area than would have been the case before. So we are shifting geography for NHS doctors to test.”
The countries will be confirmed later on Thursday.
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Chinese doctor who tried to warn others about coronavirus dies, state media says
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Third coronavirus case in the UK confirmed
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China ambassador criticises ‘rumour and panic’ over coronavirus
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