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China reports first death from outbreak of mystery virus – Euronews

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BEIJING — As China prepares for the impending Lunar New Year travel boom, health authorities reported the country’s first death from a viral pneumonia Saturday, heightening concerns over a possible flare-up similar to that of the early-2000s SARS outbreak.

A 61-year-old man who had been hospitalized after suffering shortness of breath and severe pneumonia in the central Chinese city of Wuhan died Thursday, authorities said.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that 41 people are under hospital quarantine with suspected infection of the mystery virus, seven of whom are critically ill.

They said that 739 incidents of close contact were under medical surveillance, an increase from the previous 163. 419 of those cases involve medical staff.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert for “a pneumonia outbreak of unknown cause” in China, urging Americans to “avoid animals — alive or dead — and animal markets, avoid contacts with sick people and wash hands often with soap and water.”

The man who died was a regular buyer at a seafood market in Wuhan, the health authority said.

Treatments did not improve his symptoms after he was admitted to hospital and he died on the evening of Jan. 9 when his heart failed. He tested positive for the virus, it added.

A preliminary investigation identified the respiratory disease as a new type of coronavirus, Chinese state media reported Thursday, citing scientists handling the probe.

Beijing expects some 3 billion passenger trips, with 400 million by train, as the country celebrates the new year. Some 7 million Chinese tourists are also expected to travel overseas.

In anticipation of a 40-day period of celebration, which begins this year on Jan. 25, the transport ministry said it plans additional measures to disinfect trains, planes and buses in order to prevent the transmission of diseases.

Wuhan is a travel hub for the country’s center. The city’s mystery flu has stoked fears of an outbreak not seen since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic that infected more than 8,400 people worldwide in 2002 and 2003.

More than 800 people died in the outbreak, which originated from animal markets in southern China.

China has said the cause of the recent illness remains unknown, but has sought to dismiss speculation that it could be a reappearance of SARS.

Dr. David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory expert and chairman of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at Chinese University of Hong Kong, told NBC News he felt that “the risk to Hong Kong and other parts of the world is low” as long as health authorities in Wuhan can contain it there.

“They are much better than in 2003 in handling severe infections in terms of transparency and timeliness,” he added.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.

The World Health Organization has described its symptoms as “mainly fever, with a few patients having difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing invasive lesions of both lungs.”

“I think the current situation is much different than SARS in that health authorities in Wuhan have been providing regular updates,” said Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security.

“It is reassuring that after a month the total number of cases is fairly limited and the absence of healthcare worker infections supports the idea that there hasn’t been sustained human to human transmission,” she added.

“But we are obviously concerned about the potential for this to change and that is why this situation warrants the attention it has been getting.”

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KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca

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The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.

Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.

Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.

Read more:

COVID-19 — Influx of cases causing strain on Kingston hospitals

The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.

The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.

“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”


Click to play video: 'As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts'



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As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts


As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun

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Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.

There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.

“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.

“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”

The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.

All these services are confidential and free of charge.

Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.

Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.

» The Brandon Sun

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COVID-19 vaccines: 18% of Ottawa kids 5-11 have 1st doses – Globalnews.ca

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Nearly 14,000 Ottawa kids have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine shots in their first week of eligibility, according to the local health unit.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that 13,887 kids aged five to 11, representing 18 per cent of the total age group in the city, have their initial shots as of Wednesday morning.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said earlier this week that 40 per cent of local kids in this youngest eligible demographic have appointments booked through the provincial vaccination system. This doesn’t account for shots booked at pharmacies or doctors’ offices.

Read more:

No need for new restrictions yet in Ottawa amid Omicron cases, Dr. Etches says

City-wide, 86 per cent of the population aged five and older now have at least one dose.

Meanwhile, OPH reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, surpassing the 32,000-case mark since the start of the pandemic.

The number of active infections held relatively steady at 329 in the latest report.

There are now 11 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, two of whom are in the intensive care unit.


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