More than 1,200 cases of a new viral respiratory illness have been confirmed in China and elsewhere since an outbreak began last month in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Scientists have identified the illness as a new kind of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others have evolved into more severe illnesses, such as SARS and MERS, although so far the new virus does not appear to be nearly as deadly or contagious.
WHAT’S NEW TODAY
— The number of confirmed cases rose to 1,287. Forty-one people have died, all in China.
— After Wuhan halted all outbound flights, trains, buses and ferries on Thursday, 12 other cities in the central province of Hubei followed suit with a combined population of more than 36 million now under lockdown.
— Wuhan is swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to the disease. The prefabricated structure, slated for completion Feb. 3, is modeled after a Beijing hospital built in 2003 for the SARS outbreak.
— The new virus claimed its youngest victim. A 36-year-old man in Hubei was admitted to the hospital earlier this month after suffering from fever for three days. He died Thursday.
— Additional cases cropped up outside China. Australia reported its first case on Saturday and France announced two cases, the disease’s first appearance in Europe. The U.S., South Korea, Japan and Singapore also added cases to their tallies. The new U.S. case, the nation’s second, is a Chicago woman in her 60s who returned from China on Jan. 13. Nepal also confirmed its first case.
— Hospitals in Wuhan are grappling with a flood of patients and a lack of supplies. At least eight hospitals in Wuhan issued public calls for donations of masks, goggles, gowns and other protective medical gear, according to notices online.