Deadly coronavirus is MUCH more contagious than feared: Medics confirm the disease that has killed 18 can be spread by COUGHING - as Singapore, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia become latest countries to confirm cases
- SARS-like disease first reported in China before spreading to Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and US
- Major Chinese New Year events in Beijing have been cancelled, officials at the Chinese capital revealed today
- Today it emerged the infected US patient came into close contact with at least 16 people before quarantined
- Official figures show more than 600 patients have caught the infection, with cases cropping up all over Asia
- However, scientists yesterday warned as many as 10,000 people could have been infected in Wuhan alone
- Chilling footage has emerged from city of Wuhan, the outbreak's centre, showing quarantine tents and entire streets pumped with decontamination gas. Two neighbouring cities have also gone into lockdown
- European health officials said 'further global spread is likely' in a report, but World Health Organization meeting last night failed to declare the crisis a global emergency. Heath chiefs will meet again today
The deadly new coronavirus spreading across Asia is far more contagious than previously feared and can be spread third-hand via a simple cough or sneeze, medics have today confirmed.
Eighteen people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 600 have been infected in at least 10 countries. But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be as many as 10,000 as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases.
Nine towns and cities in China are now in lockdown while officials battle to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus. Major Chinese New Year events in Beijing have been cancelled, authorities in Ezhou have shut down train stations, and Huanggang has announced it will suspend public buses and trains.
The development comes as Wuhan – the city at the centre of the outbreak – remains in lockdown, with all flights in and outbound cancelled, residents banned from leaving and scenes of chaos as desperate families fight for food supplies.
Chinese officials are disinfecting whole streets and parks with clouds of gas and chilling footage has emerged of roadside quarantine tents, hastily erected to isolate suspected cases. One resident told the BBC the atmosphere in the city felt like 'the end of the world'. Concerned medics were seen wheeling a suspected patient out of the airport in Fuzhou in south-eastern China in an elaborate see-through quarantine pod.
Singapore and Vietnam have today announced they have recorded cases of the infection.
In Singapore, a 66-year-old man who had flown from Wuhan with his family on Monday is recovering in hospital. A 37-year-old companion is also in hospital under observation but has not been diagnosed.
In Vietnam, a Chinese father a son are in hospital in Ho Chi Minh City after flying there from Wuhan and becoming ill. They are in 'good condition', according to Vietnamese authorities.
An Indian member of government had tweeted that an Indian nurse was being treated in Saudi Arabia but that has since turned out to be inaccurate – she instead had a similar virus called MERS.
This means the illness has now spread to nine countries, including the US, and European health officials fear the never-before-seen virus will reach the continent where the UK and other nations are already on high alert.
It was revealed today that an American man infected with the deadly virus – which Chinese officials have warned will mutate and become deadlier – came into close contact with at least 16 people before he was put in isolation.
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