Saturday 29 February 2020

Coronavirus news headlines - 28 February, 2020

The World Health Organization on Friday raised its global risk assessment over the new coronavirus stemming from China to the highest level, but stopped short of declaring it a pandemic, saying there is still a chance of containing the disease.

"We have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at a global level," WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing, referring to the official name of the pneumonia-like disease caused by the virus that has spread to every continent except Antarctica.

The global risk assessment is now on par with the risk level in China, where massive numbers of infection cases and deaths have been reported and whose central city of Wuhan has been locked down. The move by the WHO came about a month after it declared the virus outbreak a global emergency.

South Korea reported 256 newly confirmed cases in its first update of the day on Friday (this week, health officials have been updating the count every 12 hours or so). The new batch brings the small East Asian country's total to 2,022, and also puts South Korea on track to confirm more than 1,000 new cases in 48 hours.

A Solano County woman now critically ill with coronavirus was hospitalized for 11 days before her infection was revealed to healthcare workers, raising the potential of broader community exposure to the dangerous respiratory disease.

Suffering from flu-like symptoms, the patient brought herself to the 50-bed NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville on Feb. 15, according to the Washington Post. She was transferred to UC Davis for advanced care four days later, on Feb. 19.

Suspecting coronavirus, UC Davis requested a test upon her arrival. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control conducted the test four days later, on Sunday, Feb. 23. Results were not returned until Wednesday, Feb. 26, according to a UC Davis statement.

Faced with the prospect of community spread of the disease, expanded testing is essential, said Gov. Gavin Newsom at a Thursday morning briefing in Sacramento.

  • Some experts say the new coronavirus will probably never disappear.
  • Instead, it will likely become like the flu and other respiratory viruses that constantly circulate in the human population and fluctuate with the seasons.
  • Coronaviruses and other respiratory illnesses tend to retreat in hotter, more humid weather. But even if the new coronavirus naturally subsides come spring, it could return in the winter

Didn't get your mask?

The Iranian Parliament is suspending its work amid the spread of coronavirus in the country, the spokesman for the legislative body revealed on Friday. 

According to the spokesman, Asadullah Abbasi, Parliament will not be holding any sessions until further notice.

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