Worrying new virus development


The coronavirus has passed from person-to-person in the US for the first time, authorities say.

In a telebriefing on Thursday (US time), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the patient is the husband of a Chicago woman who was diagnosed with the illness.

She had recently returned from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the virus.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC director, said the health agency had expected to identify "some" person-to-person spread in the U.S., and insisted that the risk to the American public "remains low." Officials stressed that the husband, who is in his 60s and has underlying health issues, and his wife had continued close contact while she was symptomatic, exposing him to the virus.

Both patients remain hospitalised and the man is stable, Fox News reports.

The woman, who is also in her 60s and was the first travel-related case confirmed in Illinois, is said to be "doing well."

The first person-to-person transmission cases outside of China was confirmed yesterday in Germany and Japan.

One of them is a Japanese tour bus driver in his 60s who had driven two groups of Chinese tourists from Wuhan earlier this month. ​

He was diagnosed with pneumonia on Saturday and has now been hospitalised.

In Germany, a man is believed to have been infected by a Chinese colleague who visited his workplace.



In Australia, a ninth person has been diagnosed with the deadly virus.

A 42-year-old Chinese national woman from Wuhan has been confirmed to have the infection, in the second case for Queensland, the state's health department said.

There have been four cases in NSW and three in Victoria so far, taking the national total to nine.

The latest woman was a member of the tour group travelling with the 44-year-old man confirmed to have the virus in Queensland Wednesday.




Officials in the US said an investigative team is continuing to look into potential contacts of the couple.

Health officials in Canada previously reported a similar instance in a couple who were diagnosed with the coronavirus after they returned from a trip to Wuhan.

The Ontario Ministry of Health said the man, who is in his 50s, reported fever and respiratory symptoms and was placed in isolation.

Days later, the wife also tested positive for the virus.

At this time, the CDC said it does not recommend the general public wear masks, but that those who have recently travelled to China be vigilant about reporting possible symptoms.

The virus, which originated in Wuhan, has sickened more than 7700 people and has been linked to at least 170 deaths.

The number of cases in mainland China has now surpassed that of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, but the death toll remains lower.