Coronavirus Outbreak Jan. 24: Australia and Malaysia Announce New Cases

January 24, 2020 Updated: January 29, 2020
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Jan. 24 updates. Click here for Jan. 25 updates.

8:15 a.m. UTC—3 New Cases Confirmed in Australia

The health authorities of Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales confirmed that three men—aged 53, 43 and 35—are in isolation and under care in Westmead Hospital in Sydney, according to local reports.

According to Fairfax, all three recently arrived from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Four other people may also have the coronavirus, health officials said. Two of the three men arrived in Australia on Jan. 6 and Jan. 9. The date when the third man arrived is not yet confirmed.

“I’d like to thank each of these three people because they have been exemplary in the way that they presented themselves, to have a medical test, and to have the necessary pathology in due course, when it was appropriate from the medical practitioners’ point of view,” NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazard said, reported Fairfax.

The latest announcement means that Australia’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to four.

3:45 a.m. UTC—Malaysia Confirms First 3 Cases of Coronavirus

Malaysia said three people tested positive on Saturday, Jan. 25, for the coronavirus—the first cases confirmed in the country.

Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said that the three who were diagnosed with the virus were Chinese nationals, Reuters reported. They are relatives of a 66-year-old man and his son from Wuhan who were earlier diagnosed with the virus in neighboring Singapore.

Dzulkefly said that the three people are a 65-year-old woman—the wife of the man diagnosed with the virus in Singapore and their two grandsons, aged 11 and 2. They were admitted to Sungai Buloh hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment and are in stable condition, the health minister told reporters at a news conference.

Malaysia Airports said in a separate statement that it has increased the screening of passengers and crew arriving from China at gateway airports across the country.

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Chinese health workers wait to check the temperature of travellers entering a subway station in Beijing, China on Jan. 25, 2020. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

2:00 a.m. UTC—Doctor in Wuhan City Dies from Coronavirus: State Media

A doctor in a hospital in Wuhan city has died from the coronavirus, China Global Television Network reported on Twitter.

“Liang Wudong, a doctor at Hubei Xinhua Hospital who had been at the front line of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan city, dies from the virus at age 62,” the tweet said.

1:15 a.m. UTC—First Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Australia

The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Australia, the Health Minister of Victoria, Jenny Mikakos, announced Saturday afternoon local Australia time.

A Chinese national has been isolated in a hospital in Melbourne, Victoria. The man, who is in his 50s and had spent two weeks in Wuhan, arrived in Melbourne on Jan. 19. He showed no symptoms on the flight to Melbourne, Mikakos said.

The Victorian health minister said the risk of transmission is low, but state and federal officials would be stationed at Melbourne airport, and a hotline will be set up for people seeking information about the virus.

“It is important to stress that there is no cause for alarm to the community. The patient is isolated and is undergoing treatment and we do not have any further suspected cases at this stage,” Mikakos told reporters.

Later in the afternoon, NSW Health told reporters that there are two new “probable infections” and said that an additional four people in the state were undergoing testing.

12:20 a.m. Five Undergo Tests in Australia’s New South Wales

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the health authority of Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, confirmed that five people are being tested for coronavirus, while two other people have been discharged after returning negative test results on Friday.

A child was rushed into quarantine at Sydney International airport Friday night after arriving on an incoming flight and with flu-like symptoms. That child has been assessed and released, Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick told the ABC.

No cases of the Novel Coronavirus have been confirmed in NSW as yet.

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A medical worker attends to a patient in the intensive care unit at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province. on Jan. 24, 2020. (Zong Qi/Xinhua via AP)

11:20 p.m. UTC—China Expands Quarantine as France Confirms Third Case

China expanded its lockdown against the deadly new virus to an unprecedented 36 million people as transportation was shut down in at least 13 cities.

At least eight public hospitals in Wuhan are calling for donations of masks, goggles, gowns, and other protective medical gear, according to reports.

Meanwhile, France has announced a third case of the coronavirus, with authorities saying that all three affected by the virus had traveled to China. Two of the three belonged to the same family. The cases mark the first three registered in Europe.

Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said that the likely reason that France reported the first European cases is that it quickly developed a test to rapidly diagnose those with the Novel virus, according to The Associated Press. Buzyn added that she expects more cases and that the virus must be battled like a wildfire.

9:45 p.m. UTC—Minnesota Isolates Patients

Two patients in the U.S. state of Minnesota were isolated at home as health officials waited results of tests for the coronavirus.

Both patients traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the disease.

“These individuals have not been ill enough to require hospitalization. They’ve had mild illness,” state Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann told reporters at a press conference.

Minnesota is one of 22 states that have possible cases. The others that have been identified are New Jersey, Texas, and California.

Out of 63 patients tested for the virus, 11 have tested negative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said earlier Friday. The two positive tests were from a patient in Chicago and a patient in Washington state.

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People line up outside a drugstore to buy masks in Shanghai, China on Jan. 24, 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

8 p.m. UTC—France Confirms 2 Cases

French officials said two patients tested positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in Europe.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China and has now spread to at least eight countries.

“We have two cases,” French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told reporters in Paris, the Associated Press reported. “We will probably have other cases.”

Both patients recently traveled to China.

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Tourists wear face masks as they visit Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Jan. 24, 2020, as France confirmed two coronavirus cases, the first in Europe. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

6:50 p.m. UTC—4 People in New York State Isolated

Four people in New York state were under isolation on Jan. 24 as officials tested for the Wuhan coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Tests for three of the patients are pending while one case already tested negative.

Cuomo’s office said the risk for New York is currently low.

“As we learn about the first confirmed cases of this novel coronavirus in the United States and potentially in New York, I want to assure New Yorkers that we are prepared,” the governor said in a statement.

Read more here.

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An electrician sets up wiring while workers drive excavators at the construction site of a new hospital designed to cope with the surge of 2019 Novel Coronavirus patients, in Wuhan, China on Jan. 24, 2020. (Getty Images)

6 p.m. UTC—Virus Patients in China Show New Symptoms: Report

Patients in the Chinese city of Wuhan have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus after exhibiting non-respiratory-related symptoms—such as diarrhea, chest pains, and headaches— according to Jan. 24 report by Chinese researchers reported by local media. 

Thus far, official guidance on the symptoms of the Wuhan virus has been limited to fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath.

However, according to local media, a report by doctors and experts from Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University on Friday noted the appearance of initial symptoms not related to the respiratory system. 

It said that many patients who contracted the virus did not have a fever. Therefore simply taking the temperatures of passengers at transport hubs is not enough to screen for the virus.

According to the report, a patient may only present symptoms relating to the digestive system, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or having no appetite; or the nervous system, such as headaches; or the cardiovascular system, such as heart palpitations or tightness in the chest. 

Other initial symptoms include conjunctivitis, mild pain in the limbs, or lower back pain. 

Read more here. 

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Staff members check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the train from Wuhan to Hangzhou, at Hangzhou Railway Station ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Zhejiang province, China Jan. 23, 2020. (China Daily/via Reuters)

5:30 p.m. UTC—New Cases Detected in Nepal, Thailand, and Hong Kong

A Nepali man tested positive to the Wuhan coronavirus after traveling to the city.

Meanwhile, the total number of cases in Thailand has reached five.

Hemanta Chandra Ojha, an official at Nepal’s Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, said the patient is a 31-year-old student who has been studying for his doctoral degree in Wuhan, the local daily newspaper The Kathmandu Post reported. He has returned since earlier this month. A laboratory in Hong Kong has confirmed his illness after testing specimens from throat swabs and his blood samples.

The man was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 13 and discharged on Jan. 17 once his health improved. Ojha said they are in the process of finding this man and his family, but so far had no idea where they had gone.

Thailand confirmed its fifth case of the viral pneumonia in Bangkok on Friday. The patient is a 33-year-old Chinese tourist from Wuhan, who flew to Bangkok on Tuesday with her 7-year-old daughter, according to the Bangkok Post.

The woman later went to a private health provider, complaining of fever, coughing, and muscle pains. She is currently under isolation, and authorities said they had found no signs of further infection.

In Hong Kong, health authorities identified two new patients, both aged 62, whose preliminary test results suggested viral infection, although they said further tests are necessary to confirm it.

The patients have recently traveled to Wuhan.

Thai Airways and Thai Air Asia, as well as Malaysia’s Malindo Air are suspending flights to Wuhan amid the viral outbreak.

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A Chinese police officer wears a protective mask as passengers, many wearing masks also, arrive to board trains at a Beijing railway station in Beijing, China on Jan. 23, 2020. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

4 p.m. UTC—Case Confirmed in Chicago

The second case of coronavirus in the United States was confirmed through testing, health officials said on Jan. 24.

The Chicago resident, a woman in her 60s, returned from Wuhan, China, on Jan. 13 but did not show symptoms while traveling, health officials told reporters in a phone call.

When she developed symptoms, the woman contacted her doctor, who asked about her travel history and sent her to a hospital, where she was placed in isolation. The hospital’s name was not disclosed.

The first confirmed patient in the United States was in Washington state.

Read more here.

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Employees in scrubs talk next to the ambulance entrance at Providence Regional Medical Center after the CDC said a traveler from China was been the first person in the United States to be diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus, in Everett, Washington on Jan. 21, 2020. (Lindsey Wasson/Reuters)

2:30 p.m. UTC—California Officials Take Samples From Patients

At least nine people are being tested for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in a northern California county, health officials said.

Officials with the Alameda County Health Department told KRON4 that there are no confirmed cases out of the nine-plus people showing symptoms.

The patients either traveled to Wuhan, China, within the past 14 days or were in contact with someone else who was exposed to the virus.

Health officials said the patients had a high fever and a cough and that samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.

Read more here.

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Chinese tourists wearing masks walk through the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, Japan on Jan. 24, 2020. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

12:30 p.m. UTC—Taiwan Confirms 2 New Cases of Virus

Taiwan health officials on the evening of Jan. 24 confirmed two new cases of the virus, bringing the total to three on the island.

A Chinese tourist, a woman in her 50s, and a Taiwanese man, also in his 50s, have been quarantined in hospital. Both had entered Taiwan on Jan. 21 and had been in Wuhan, officials said.

The Chinese woman went to a hospital with fever symptoms on Jan. 23.

The man started experiencing cold symptoms on Jan. 20 and went to a hospital on Jan. 23.

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A nurse (C), wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, looks at a thermometer at the Wuhan Fifth Hospital in Wuhan on Jan. 24, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

11:30 a.m. UTC—China Widens Lockdowns

Chinese authorities have expanded lockdowns and closed tourist attractions ahead of the Lunar New Year to curb a viral outbreak that has spread to nearly all regions of the country.

The disease, which originated from the central city of Wuhan, has spread to every region in the country except Tibet.

Authorities have put 13 cities in the province of Hubei, where Wuhan is located, under transport lockdown—affecting around 40 million people. Outside the epicenter, there were major closures of events to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year and tourist attractions, including Beijing’s Forbidden City, some sections of the Great Wall, and Shanghai Disneyland.

Read more here.