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WHO says Chinese pneumonia outbreak may be a new virus

Published on 09/01/20 at 11:36am

The recent pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan could potentially be a new virus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO said it could be an emerging member of the family of viruses that caused the SARS and MERS outbreaks.

The UN health agency said it needed more information to confirm precisely what is causing the infections.

A team of Chinese experts showed a new type of coronavirus caused the outbreak that began in December.

Xi Jinguo, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering who led this team, said the tests found 15 positive results of the new coronavirus. The report said: “It may take years for researchers to develop medicines and vaccines.”

As of Sunday there have been 59 reported cases of people with the viral disease, with 163 people placed under medical observation.

Wang Yang, the Chinese transport ministry’s Chief Engineer, said that authorities would step up efforts to prevent the disease from spreading during the Chinese New Year. This will include disinfecting major transportation hubs.

China, Singapore and Hong Kong have set up checks for travellers arriving from Wuhan. Hong Kong has admitted 16 travellers with pneumonia-like symptoms to hospital with Singapore having one suspicious case.

Conor Kavanagh

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