China reported 17 new cases of the mysterious SARS-like virus on 19 January 2020, including three in a severe condition, heightening fears ahead of China's Lunar New Year holiday when hundreds of millions of people move around the country. The virus -- a new strain of coronavirus that humans can contract -- has caused alarm because of its connection to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. Of the 17 new cases in the central city of Wuhan -- believed to be the epicentre of the outbreak -- three are described as "severe".
  1. The virus has now infected 62 people in Wuhan, city authorities said, with eight in a severe condition, 19 cured and discharged from hospital, and the rest remaining in isolation receiving treatment.
  2. Two people have died so far from the virus, including a 69-year-old man who died, with the disease causing pulmonary tuberculosis and damage to multiple organ functions.
  3. A paper published by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London warned that the number of cases in the city was likely to be closer to 1,700 than those officially identified.
  4. Authorities said on 19 January 2020 that some of the new cases had "no history of contact" with the seafood market believed to be the centre of the outbreak. 
  5. No human-to-human transmission has been confirmed so far, but Wuhan's health commission has previously said the possibility "cannot be excluded". Three cases have also been reported overseas -- two in Thailand and one in Japan.
Scientists develop 1st diagnostic test
  1. Researchers have developed the first diagnostic test to detect the novel Chinese coronavirus, which is likely to spread globally.
  2. The assay protocol has now been published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a guideline for diagnostic detection. The new method also enables suspected cases to be tested quickly.
  3. The virus, which first emerged in Wuhan, China, and can cause severe pneumonia, can now be detected in the laboratory.
  4. Developed by a researcher from German Centre for Infection Research, the world's first diagnostic test for the coronavirus has now been made publicly available.
  5. Following its online publication by the WHO, the test protocol will now serve as a guideline for laboratories. An international consortium is currently conducting a joint evaluation study.
  6. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an advisory for travellers visiting China in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country.
  7. As on January 11, 41 novel coronavirus confirmed infection cases have been reported from China, of which one has died. One travel related case each has been reported in Thailand and Japan.
  8. The clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever with a few patients having difficulty in breathing. The mode of transmission is unclear as of now. However, so far there is little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.
Indian school teacher becomes first foreigner to contract deadly virus in China
  1. A 45-year-old Indian school teacher is undergoing treatment for a new strain of pneumonia outbreak spreading in the Chinese cities of Wuhan and Shenzhen, becoming the first foreigner to have contracted the mysterious SARS-like coronavirus.
  2. Preeti Maheshwari, a teacher at an international school in Shenzhen, has been admitted to a local hospital after she fell seriously ill.
  3. The virus has caused alarm because of its connection to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which killed nearly 650 people in China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.