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Wuhan coronavirus may cause a global economic slowdown


<b>Wuhan coronavirus may cause a global economic slowdown</b>A new virus that has infected almost 80000 people and claimed more than 2300 lives may have jumped from pangolins to bats to snakes and then to humans in a food market. The epidemic may trigger a global economic slowdown.
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The case of 20-year-old who infected relatives despite not showing signs of illness and testing negative stokes global pandemic fears. The woman from Wuhan travelled hundreds of miles to another city where she is believed to have infected five relatives without showing signs of infection, scientists in China have said, offering fresh evidence that the new coronavirus can be spread asymptomatically. With 35 confirmed cases, Thailand has been successful in treating the virus with a cocktail of anti-virals used to treat flu and HIV after a Chinese woman infected with the new coronavirus tested negative 48 hours after taking the combination. 19 people have have fully recovered thanks to the treatment. China's National Health Commission reported more than 78,000 confirmed cases and over 2,300 deaths on the mainland. More than 800 new cases were reported in China overnight. South Korea has also reported more than 200 cases. Hubei province accounts for more than 80% of overall Chinese infections and deaths. The death of a doctor widely regarded as a hero in China for blowing the whistle on the virus has led to a massive outpouring of grief and anger. Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor working in Wuhan, died Friday, February 7, 2020 of the virus he warned the public about. Dr. Li tried to save lives, but was silenced. In December, he posted in his medical school alumni group on the Chinese messaging app WeChat that seven patients from a local seafood market had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in his hospital in Wuhan. Li was among eight physicians punished by Wuhan police for discussing the emergence of a SARS-like virus on social media. An 80-year-old Chinese tourist died in France, becoming the first fatality in Europe. A 75-year-old woman who was hospitalized a few days ago for pneumonia died in the Lodi area, Italy. Stocks fell sharply on Friday after the number of new coronavirus cases escalated, fueling worries over a pronounced global economic slowdown. Foreign nations are tightening restrictions on travelers from and to China in response to the rapid spread of the epidemic, which has a fatality rate of around 2%, according to the WHO. There is growing international concern over the outbreak as confirmed cases have been reported in other countries on all the continents. WHO has announced that the outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of international concern. Foreign countries are preparing to evacuate their citizens from quarantined city at the outbreak's epicenter. So far, only scattered cases of the coronavirus have appeared in Europe, but the economic effects are proving harder to quarantine. The shock may be severe enough to push the vulnerable German economy, and perhaps the entire eurozone, into a recession. That is the conclusion of a growing number of economists as it becomes clear that it will take weeks, at best, before the Chinese economy resumes its role as a prolific exporter of essential factory goods, and as an increasingly important consumer market for the rest of the world. "The longer it takes for production to resume, the higher the risks," said Jörg Krämer, chief economist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "We are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy," the US Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, told House Financial Services Committee members. Health workers in Hong Kong threatened to strike if the territory's government did not completely close the border with mainland China. A prolonged and widespread coronavirus outbreak could hit Japan's economy, affecting tourism, retail and exports, among other areas, a senior International Monetary Fund official warned. "The spread of coronavirus poses an emerging downside risk to Japan's economy, although the economic impact will depend on the extent of the spread of the disease and policy responses," Paul Cashin, the IMF's mission chief for Japan, told Reuters. The virus can cause fever, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, kidney failure and death. To contain the virus, affected areas have been placed under quarantine, with public transport being temporarily closed. Thousands more are expected, and attempts to contain the epidemic are underway. The first suspected cases were identified in Wuhan, China, in December, and reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, but it was not immediately clear what was behind the pneumonia outbreak. A wholesale fish and live animal market was suspected to be connected with the cases. To find out if the virus might have come from one of these species, Wei Ji and colleagues at Peking University in China compared the genomes of five samples of the new virus with 217 similar viruses collected from a range of species. Results derived from their evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV based on their similar codon usage bias. Homologous recombination within the spike glycoprotein of the newly identified coronavirus 2019-nCoV may boost cross-species transmission from snake to human. The test is somehow biased. Of the 8 animals tested, snakes have closest codon usage. They didn't test civet codons. Most of the civet species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The market also sold fowls, rodents, foxes, suids, marmots, rabbits, bats and even salamander. They could have considered other 'more common'' zoological species that may harbour coronavirus for this work. The virus may have passed to people through the air, says Peter Rabinowitz at the University of Washington in Seattle. "It's still speculation, but if the virus is in the secretions or faeces of the snakes, it would be possible to aerosolize and be breathed in if there were enough snakes and enough people," he says. Other Chinese researchers investigating the animal origin of the coronavirus outbreak in China have said that the endangered pangolin may be the "missing link" between bats and humans. After testing more than 1,000 samples from wild animals, scientists at the South China Agricultural University found that the genome sequences of viruses in pangolins to be 99% identical to those on coronavirus patients, the official Xinhua news agency reported. But other experts urged caution. "This is not scientific evidence," said James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge. "Investigations into animal reservoirs are extremely important, but results must be then be published for international scrutiny." "Simply reporting detection of viral RNA with sequence similarity of more than 99% is not sufficient," he added. To conclusively identify the culprit, researchers would need to test each species that was on sale at the market -- a near impossibility given that it is now permanently closed.

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Cathy Vikulchik 2020-02-03 at 04:48

Cases by countries and live updates.

Coronavirus Live Update: 77,933 Cases and 2,362 Deaths from the Wuhan Coronavirus


Statistics tracking the number of confirmed cases, recovered patients, and deaths by country due to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan, China. Coronavirus counter with historical data, daily charts and statistics.
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