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Wuhan pneumonia outbreak: Mystery illness 'caused by coronavirus' – BBC News

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Scientists believe they may have found the cause of the mystery pneumonia that has infected almost 60 people in the Chinese city of Wuhan since December.

Preliminary tests indicated the illness may be caused by a new coronavirus, lead scientist Xu Jianguo told the official Xinhua news agency.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had also said a coronavirus could be to blame for the outbreak.

So far, 59 cases have been reported, seven of which are considered critical.

Mr Xu, who is leading efforts to identify the cause, said they had found the “new type” of coronavirus by testing infected blood samples and throat swabs collected from 15 people.

The coronavirus can cause anything from the common cold to much more severe diseases. Notably, it caused an epidemic of the potentially deadly, flu-like Sars virus back in 2002-3, which killed more than 700 people around the world after originating in China.

However, Gauden Galea, the WHO representative to China, said “further investigations” were required to “determine the source, modes of transmission, extent of infection and countermeasures implemented”.

Singapore’s airport says it will begin temperature screening travellers from Wuhan and Hong Kong health officials say they are also implementing checks on passengers.

Authorities in Hong Kong have also stepped up the disinfection of trains and aeroplanes, AFP news agency reports.

Fears the virus could be spread were further stoked by the fact it struck just before China’s peak travel season, when hundreds of millions of people are set to travel for Chinese New Year later this month.

But it is still unclear how the illness is transmitted, with health officials saying no cases of human-to-human transmission had been confirmed as yet.

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Former U.S. President Clinton leaves hospital, will return to New York

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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton walked out of a Southern California hospital on Sunday after being admitted last week for a Urological Infection, live video showed.

Clinton, 75, will return to New York and remain on antibiotics, Dr. Alpesh Amin, who had been overseeing his care at the hospital, said in a statement released by Clinton’s spokesman. His fever and white blood cell count have normalized, Amin added.

The former president had been in California for an event for his foundation and was treated at the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s intensive care unit after suffering from fatigue and being admitted on Tuesday.

He left the medical center accompanied by his wife, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The two-term president, who has had previous heart problems, held the White House from 1993 to 2001.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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UAE’s daily COVID-19 cases fall below 100

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United Arab Emirates on Sunday recorded a drop in daily COVID-19 cases to below 100 for the first time since the start of the outbreak last year as it hosts a huge world fair to which it hopes to attract millions of visits.

The Health Ministry reported 99 new cases, down from a peak of nearly 4,000 a day in January. The UAE’s cumulative death toll stands at 2,120.

The regional tourism and business hub, which still largely requires masks in public places, has one of the world’s highest immunisation rates.

Around 96% of the population of roughly 10 million have received one vaccine dose, while some 86% are fully vaccinated, according to latest official data.

Other Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia have also seen daily coronavirus cases fall to below 100.

The UAE is hoping to boost its economy by attracting 25 million business and tourist visits to Expo 2020 Dubai, the first world fair to be held in the Middle East. The event began on Oct. 1 and will run for six months.

 

(Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Surge in demand: Distribution of COVID-19 rapid-test kits cut short in New Brunswick – CTV News Atlantic

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MONCTON –

Faced with long lineups and heavy demand, health officials in New Brunswick were forced to cut short the distribution of free COVID-19 rapid-test kits at three locations Saturday.

At Magic Mountain on Magnetic Hill in Moncton, cars lined up kilometres down the road.

It was the first time the province provided rapid test kits to the public for take-home use.

Danica Gautreau, a nurse practitioner who has her own practice, said some people arrived as early as 6 a.m. which was two hours before they opened.

“They are going pretty fast. There is a lot of people,” she said.

The sites opened on Saturday were located in Moncton, Grand Falls and Perth-Andover were scheduled to run from 8 a.m. To 5 p.m.

But by noon, the Moncton site had handed out all 4,500 kits. According to the province, pick-up sites had to close early due to the overwhelming demand for tests.

“We didn’t really know how much interest it would be, we didn’t know it would be that many people,” she said.

Many people in line at the Moncton location reported waiting between 30 and 90 minutes to get a kit.

Gautreau said that each person in the vehicle gets one COVID-19 rapid test kit which has 5 tests within it. Those who currently have COVID-19 symptoms or have contracted the virus within the last 90 days were not able to take home a test.

On Friday, New Brunswick’s Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told CTV News that the province is hoping by offering tests to the public will help determine if there are more cases out there.

“It’s really important for public health to know how many active cases there are in the province. At this point, we’ve been able to keep contact tracing going but we want to try and prevent community spread,” she said.

Shephard said as of this week the province has deployed over a million rapid tests.

“I think if individuals are going to pick up the tests, they’re doing that for a reason, to either assure themselves but also to know that they should be isolating if they need to,” said Shephard.

On Monday, rapid testing kits will be handed out at more locations across the province, not limited to circuit breaker zones.

-With files from The Canadian Press. 

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