World • 22 January, 2020

New China virus: US announces first case

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The United States has confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus on its territory, BBC reports.

The Centers for Disease Control said the virus, which originated in China, had been diagnosed in a US resident who arrived in Seattle from China.

The virus, which spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected almost 300 people, and six have died.

North Korea has temporarily closed its borders to foreign tourists in response to the threat, a tour operator says.

The patient diagnosed in the US - reported to be a man in his 30s - returned from Wuhan on 15 January, the CDC said.

"The patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the patient was treated for the illness," it added in a statement.

"Based on the patient's travel history and symptoms, healthcare professionals suspected this new coronavirus."

Laboratory testing of a clinical specimen confirmed the diagnosis on 20 January, the CDC statement continued.

 

Earlier on Monday, Chinese officials confirmed for the first time that the virus could pass from person to person.

At the same time Chinese state media said six people had died from the infection, which causes a type of pneumonia.

A total of 291 cases have now been reported across major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. However, most are in Wuhan, the central city of 11 million people at the heart of the outbreak.

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