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China - Original COVID-19 coronavirus news thread: weeks 1 - 4 (December 30, 2019 - January 25, 2020)

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    CHP provides latest information on cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan
    ************************************************** ********

    The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (January 11) received notification from the National Health Commission (NHC) on the latest information of the cluster of pneumonia cases detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province. The public is again urged to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

    After the preliminary determination that the pathogen of "viral pneumonia with unknown cause" is a novel coronavirus, the National and Provincial Expert Groups have immediately revised and improved the protocols on diagnosis, treatment and surveillance of viral pneumonia with unknown cause. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has arranged the samples of existing patients to be tested for nucleic acid of the pathogen, and the Expert Groups have made overall assessments on the patients hospitalised for observation and treatment, taking into considering of information on clinical picture, epidemiological information and laboratory testing results, etc. As at yesterday (January 10), 41 patients have been diagnosed to have infection of the novel coronavirus. Among them, two patients have been discharged, seven patients are in serious condition and one died, while the remaining patients are in stable condition. A total of 739 close contacts have been identified and 419 of them are healthcare workers. All have been put under medical surveillance, and no related cases have been detected so far. There have been no new cases since January 3. For the time being, the Mainland's investigation has neither identified any infection of healthcare workers nor definite evidence of human-to-human transmission.

    According to information from the NHC, investigation, epidemiological investigations revealed that the patients are mainly business operators at a market called "Hua Nan Seafood Wholesale Market" in Wuhan, which has been closed since January 1.

    The Port Health Division (PHD) under the CHP has strengthened port health measures and enhanced temperature screening of travellers with increased frequency of random checking at all boundary control points. Additional thermal imaging system has been put in place at the Hong Kong International Airport dedicated for temperature screening of travellers from flights arriving Hong Kong from Wuhan.

    Moreover, additional manpower has been assigned to enhance temperature screening of inbound travelers when the daily two high speed trains with stop at Wuhan arrive at Hong Kong to ensure that body temperature of all passengers from these two trains are checked. Fever patients with acute respiratory symptoms who had visited Wuhan within 14 days prior to the onset of the illness will be immediately referred to public hospitals for isolation, treatment and follow-up.

    The PHD has advised the MTR Corporation Limited, the Airport Authority Hong Kong, and relevant airlines to enhance cleaning and disinfection measures of the high speed trains and planes from Wuhan as well as the cleaning of West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and Airport Terminal Building. Moreover, dissemination of health messages through broadcast to travellers at e.g. flight cabin/West Kowloon Station, and distribution of leaflets, promulgating travel health news on website and posters display, has been enhanced. The PHD will continue to maintain close liaison with stakeholders of all boundary control points to timely update them about the latest situation and relevant measures.

    A dedicated webpage ( has been set up to provide relevant information and health advice. To address the public's concern, the CHP will announce the details of cases fulfilling the reporting criteria ( on the above webpage daily to enhance transparency...


    • Initial genome release of novel coronavirus

      Novel 2019 coronavirus

      h/t @arambaut
      10th January 2020
      This posting is communicated by Edward C. Holmes, University of Sydney on behalf of the consortium led by Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang, Fudan University, Shanghai

      The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center & School of Public Health, in collaboration with the Central Hospital of Wuhan, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control, and the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia is releasing a coronavirus genome from a case of a respiratory disease from the Wuhan outbreak. The sequence has also been deposited on GenBank (accession MN908947) and will be released as soon as possible.

      The sequence can be downloaded here:

      WH-Human_1.fasta.gz (8.9 KB – this is a fasta file compressed using gzip. Uncompress using gzip -d WH-Human_1.fasta.gz)

      Please feel free to download, share, use, and analyze this data. We ask that you communicate with us if you wish to publish results that use these data in a journal. If you have any other questions –then please also contact us directly.

      Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang,
      Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center & School of Public Health,
      Fudan University,
      Shanghai, China.



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        • S. Korea's 'pneumonia-like' illness case unrelated to China outbreaks: KCDC

          South Korea's public safety and health agency on Saturday said that it has confirmed that the single "pneumonia-like" illness case reported earlier in the week is not related to the outbreaks in China.

          The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it carried out a so-called pan-coronavirus test on the patient under quarantine and confirmed the illness was not caused by a new strain of the coronavirus that has made people sick in Wuhan, Hubei Province.

          South Korea's public safety and health agency on Saturday said that it has confirmed that the single "pneumonia-like" illness case reported earlier in the week is not related to the outbreaks in China. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it carried out a so-called pan-coronavirus test on the patient under quarantine and confirmed the illness was not caused by a new strain of the corona...


          • Wuhan New Coronavirus Gene Map Exposes 73% Similar to SARS

            Pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus in Wuhan, Xu Shuchang, chair professor of the Department of Respiratory Diseases of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said that the new virus involved in Wuhan pneumonia belongs to the coronavirus 2B typing, and its gene sequence is 73% the same as that of SARS virus, and A close relative of the virus found in bats.

            Professor Pan Liewen, a professor at the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong School of Medicine, said that the virus is present in bats and has a degree of similarity to the genes of SARS virus. He said that after knowing the genetic sequence of the virus, a rapid epidemiological specific genetic sequence test can be performed to identify whether the patient is infected with the same new type of coronavirus. In terms of epidemic prevention and the use of resources to track the source of the disease, "Far away" when sequencing genes.

            Yuan Guoyong, Chair Professor of Infectious Diseases, Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, said that an expert website issued the first Wuhan pneumonia gene map, and compared the gene ranking of its related map with other online rankings. The closest is the Zhoushan bat-like SARS coronavirus. Regardless of bats, humans, and civets, the virus similarity is nearly 80%. In general, the coronaviruses involved in Wuhan pneumonia this time are similar to bat-like SARS virus, but they are still a new, SARS-like coronavirus.

            Yuan emphasized that the test method currently used is still valid. According to the test, all patients with suspected pneumonia symptoms after returning from Wuhan to Hong Kong were all negative, that is, they were not infected. He also pointed out that the characteristics of Wuhan pneumonia can be borrowed from SARS in 2003, but it is unpredictable, and because there are too few cases and data, it is difficult to calculate the mortality rate, but serious cases account for 20% of the total. Hong Kong still cannot be taken lightly. All defense mechanisms It is necessary to continue and even strengthen it in case of super spread.

            Huang Jiaqing, director of the Center for Health Protection, said that some mainland scientists have placed the viral gene map of one of the patients in the gene bank. The center has contacted the National Health Construction Commission and has not yet received a report on the gene map.



            • SHANGHAI - Health authorities in central China reported the first death on Saturday from a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has been blamed on a new strain of virus from the same family as SARS...."
              SHANGHAI: Health authorities in central China reported the first death on Saturday from a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has been blamed on a new strain of virus from the same family as SARS.


              • Wuhan New Coronavirus Gene Sequence Announces High Similarity to SARS Virus

                Xu Jianguo, the leader of the preliminary assessment of pathogenic test results and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, introduced that the virus was isolated from patient samples with positive results of the new coronavirus, and showed typical coronavirus morphology under electron microscope. "There are many regularly arranged protrusions on the surface of such virus particles. The entire virus particle is like an emperor's crown, hence the name 'Coronavirus'."

                Just on January 11, the gene sequence of the new coronavirus in Wuhan was officially announced to the outside world. Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and School of Public Health, Wuhan Central Hospital of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of Sydney, Australia have released “Wuhan pneumonia” cases on the Virological website. Genome Sequence Information for a Novel Coronavirus

                "Very busy," a Fudan University scholar who participated in the research told Caixin reporters that they have been busy these days and are working hard today.

                Two days ago, in a report published in the official website of Science, scientists said that they hoped to learn more about the epidemiology and pathology of the pneumonia as soon as possible, and to find out the source of animal infection.

                What information does the gene sequence show? Researchers everywhere are rushing to analyze.

                Zhu Huachen, an associate professor at the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong, told Caixin reporter that by analyzing the above gene sequences, it can be initially determined that the similarity with the entire genome of SARS is around 80%, but the similarity between different gene segments is different, respectively. Between 60-90%. "It belongs to the same group as SARS (ie, the 2b group) and is a new type of" SARS-like "or" SARS-like "coronavirus," he said.

                However, the expert from Hong Kong believes that this does not mean that the virus will be as dangerous as Sars virus, because there is still a considerable part of the gene sequence different from Sars virus, and "even Sars virus, there are mutant strains, the transmission of There is a big difference in strength. "

                The term "coronavirus" is no stranger. The World Health Organization's WHO website shows that coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses.

                According to the website of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronaviruses (CoVs) belong to the Coronaviridae family, which includes 4 genera: Alpha Coronavirus (α-CoV), Beta Coronavirus (β-CoV), Gamma Coronavirus (γ- CoV), Delta Coronavirus (δ-CoV). So far, there are six known human coronaviruses. Two of these coronaviruses have high rates of infection and high mortality. The pathogens that caused SARS outbreaks in Guangdong, China in 2003, and MERS outbreaks in Saudi Arabia in 2012, were severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome. Coronaviruses (MERS-CoV), they are all beta coronaviruses. MERS symptoms usually include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and even progress to pneumonia, with a mortality rate of approximately 34.4%. Symptoms of SARS usually include fever, chills and physical pain, and even progress to pneumonia, with a mortality rate of approximately 9.6%.

                The other four types of coronaviruses are α-CoV represented by 229E and NL9E, and β-CoV represented by OC43 and HPU1. These four human coronaviruses are more common and usually cause mild or moderate upper respiratory diseases such as a cold. Symptoms mainly include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, etc., and sometimes cause lower respiratory diseases such as pneumonia or bronchitis. It is more common in patients with cardiopulmonary disease, immunocompromised people, infants and the elderly.

                This family of viruses also causes some animal diseases. Coronavirus is widely distributed in a variety of hosts including birds and most mammals, including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and wild birds in poultry, pigs, cattle, dogs, cats, dromedaries, Rats and chrysanthemum bats, "it can be said that it is everywhere." Qin Yan, a researcher in PI, antibody engineering, vaccines and immunology at the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

                Coronaviruses that are prevalent in poultry and cause serious disease damage are the first infectious bronchitis virus (IBV); canine respiratory infection coronavirus (CRCoV), canine coronavirus (CCoV), and feline infections cause serious health hazards to dogs and cats Peritonitis virus (FIPV), feline coronavirus (FCoV); coronaviruses such as PEDV and TEGV that pose serious threats to the pig breeding industry. MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV / SARS-like CoV, which are prevalent in dromedaries and bats, do not cause disease burden on the host, but cause severe respiratory diseases in humans after transmission across species.

                According to WHO, the new coronavirus is a special strain of coronavirus that has not been previously found in humans. Information on the spread, severity and clinical impact of the virus is limited, with only a few case reports currently available



                • Experts explain the latest bulletin of unknown cause of viral pneumonia
                  Issuing authority: Wuhan City health committee | Published: 2020-01-11 09:20:07 | Hits: 9342 | Font Size: Da Zhong Small
                  Q: How was this outbreak diagnosed?

                  Answer: Based on the patient's clinical manifestations, epidemiological history, and pathogenic test results, comprehensive research and judgment.

                  Q: What are the characteristics of the clinical manifestations of this outbreak?

                  A: The clinical manifestations are systemic symptoms such as fever and fatigue, accompanied by dry cough, and dyspnea in hospitalized patients is more common. Vital signs were generally stable at the time of admission.

                  Q: There is currently one death case. What is the specific situation?

                  A: The patient was a 61-year-old male. He was admitted to the hospital due to respiratory failure and severe pneumonia. He also had abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease. The patient purchases goods from Wuhan South China Seafood Market all year round. After admission to the hospital, symptomatic support, anti-infection, ventilator-assisted breathing, continuous ECMO in vitro life support, and other treatments did not improve his symptoms. On the evening of January 9, 2020, his heartbeat stopped and he died after rescue. Etiological results suggest that the new coronavirus is positive for nucleic acid. The deaths were diagnosed as severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (severe), septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe acid-base metabolism disorders, and cirrhosis. The immediate cause of death was respiratory circulation failure.

                  Q: What does it mean that the report says "no new cases have been detected since January 3, 2020"?

                  Answer: According to epidemiological surveys by national, provincial and municipal experts, the incidence of unexplained viral pneumonia in Wuhan this time was between December 8, 2019 and January 2, 2020. Since January 3, 2020, clinical and epidemiological investigations have shown no patients with new infections.

                  Q: How to understand "No clear evidence of human-to-human transmission"?

                  A: According to epidemiological surveys by national, provincial and municipal experts, most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan this time have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market, and no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found. We are further conducting epidemiological investigations and related laboratory tests. In addition, all close contacts, including medical staff, have so far not detected any related cases.

                  Link to original report:

                  Twitter: @RonanKelly13
                  The views expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other person or organization.


                  • hat tip @MarietFeltkamp

                    WHO has released a pdf on "Surveillance case definitions for human infection with novel coronavirus (nCoV)":


                    • World Health Organization Western Pacific

                      On January 11, Chinese authorities reported to
                      that, with use of the genomic test kit, the number of cases affected by the new coronavirus in #Wuhan, #China was narrowed from the previous 59 suspected cases to 41 cases. (1/3)
                      1:21 AM ? Jan 11, 2020?Twitter for iPhone

                      World Health Organization Western Pacific

                      Replying to
                      Of these, 7 patients are reported to have severe illness, 2 people have been discharged, and sadly 1 person (with other underlying health conditions) has died. All other patients are reported to be in stable condition. (2/3)World Health Organization Western Pacific

                      will release an updated Disease Outbreak News with further details as soon as possible. (3/3)


                      • @arambaut
                        The new #coronavirus has 89% identity to a SARS-related bat coronavirus (…) in the Sarbecovirus group of betacoronaviruses. But that doesn’t mean it comes from bats. MERS-CoV is 88% identical to the nearest known bat virus and MERS is endemic in camels.


                          Thank you to Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, Central Hospital of Wuhan, Huazhong U, Wuhan CDC, National Inst CDC&P, China CDC, U of Sydney for publically releasing the coronavirus genome from a case of respiratory disease from the Wuhan outbreak.


                          • Source:

                            Jan 11, 2020, 11:35am
                            Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak Shows The Importance Of Sound Science, Sleuthing, And Cooperation
                            Judy Stone
                            Senior Contributor

                            The latest “novel coronavirus” emerged in Wuhan, China in mid-December and was quite rapidly preliminarily identified as likely a coronavirus, a common virus group which causes respiratory tract infections. This would be the third new coronavirus causing outbreaks in the past twenty years; it’s impressive seeing the scientific progress made since SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003.

                            SARS, the first widespread and deadly coronavirus, spread globally, infecting almost 8100 and killing 774 in 37 countries before it was brought under control. Cases began in November 2003, and exploded over the first three months. It took until July to stop the outbreak.
                            Today In: Innovation

                            Scientists discovered the link to civets in live animal markets in China. Subsequently fruit bats were found to be the likely reservoir for the virus. At that time, China was initially reluctant to openly discuss the scope of the SARS problem. Other countries, as India and Peru, had experienced severe financial losses after epidemics were reported in their countries. Gro Harlem Brundtland, then Director general of WHO, helped gain the Chinese government’s cooperation. Greater transparency and sharing specimens and information was essential to stopping the epidemic, as were rigorous infection control precautions.

                            The next novel coronavirus was MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. A major problem in identifying and stopping that epidemic was that the Saudi government was less than forthcoming about the cases. In fact, there were solid reports that the Saudi government even directed physicians to misreport the cause of death of patients.

                            ProMed Mail, an infectious disease internet-based reporting system, was essential in rapidly communicating information, just as FluTrackers is now. (Both deserve more support as invaluable resources).

                            MERS was found to be primarily spread person-to-person, although a small percentage of patients had direct contact with camels, likely the major reservoir. Bats were also found to be hosts for the virus. In that outbreak, 851 people died.

                            Fighting over patent considerations and sharing samples and information was vicious; you might want to read about virologist Ali Mohamed Zaki’s firing.

                            Wuhan coronavirus

                            Now we have this new virus emerging in China. This has been handled more openly than before. China first reported the unusual cases to the World Health Organization (WHO) on 31 December 2019 ....
                            Last edited by sharon sanders; January 11, 2020, 02:42 PM. Reason: link


                            • hat tip @nycbat

                              A Tree -

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                              • Translation Google

                                January 12, 2020 10:12

                                "Father of Coronavirus" Lai Mingzhang: Wuhan pneumonia may still be transmitted from person to person due to viral gene mutation

                                Source / Health Magazine
                                By Qiu Shuyi pix / pixabay

                                The unknown pathogen of Wuhan unknown pneumonia was initially identified as a new type of coronavirus, and it is presumed that it was transmitted from animals to humans. Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and "Father of Coronavirus" Lai Mingxuan said that coronaviruses are prone to genetic mutations, and epidemic prevention agencies and the general public must not be taken lightly.
                                Dr. Lai Mingkun, a top international researcher on coronaviruses, said that SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection) in 2012 were both coronaviruses that were transmitted from animals to humans and the virus was genetically mutated to become Respiratory diseases with high infectiousness and high mortality rate, therefore, the new coronavirus of Wuhan pneumonia should be waited for in epidemic prevention.

                                Beware of mutations of new viruses that directly infect humans

                                Lai Minghuan said that coronavirus is a type of RNA virus, and "genes are susceptible to mutation" is a feature of RNA viruses. Many animals in nature carry coronaviruses, especially bats. Bats are the largest hosts of coronaviruses. Coronaviruses on bats do not directly infect humans, but mutations in the virus genes become new viruses that infect other animals and may be transmitted to humans.

                                For example, SARS in 2003 infected the civet with a bat coronavirus mutation and was finally passed on to humans. Another example is the Middle Eastern coronavirus that appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and is also a mutation of a bat coronavirus. Camels were transmitted to tourists. The resulting MERS later caused a pandemic in South Korea, with a mortality rate of 30%, which is higher than SARS.
                                Lai Mingchen said that both SARS and MERS are new coronaviruses with mutations in bat coronavirus. It is unclear which animal the new coronavirus from Wuhan pneumonia came from this time, and he speculated that it is also likely that the coronavirus mutation in bats infected them. Wild animals are transmitted to humans.

                                Eliminate virus transmission channels without touching wildlife

                                He said that the coronavirus in animals, after genetic mutations are transmitted to humans, is likely to continue to mutate in humans and become human-to-human coronaviruses. At present, there is no obvious evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan pneumonia, but the absence of evidence does not mean that it will not If it happens, the possibility of gene mutation cannot be completely ruled out. Now people who have been to Wuhan and have been exposed to wild animals become carriers without knowing it. Once the virus mutates into a virus that directly infects humans, a large-scale epidemic may break out.

                                He said that the best prevention strategy is of course to block at the stage of "animals transmit the virus to humans" to avoid the possibility of new viruses becoming SARS or the Middle East coronavirus. He said that the coronavirus transmission channels include animal droplets, urine and feces. He urged the public to avoid going to traditional markets to contact live wild animals, especially those who went to Wuhan in mainland China to be cautious. If there are fever symptoms after returning to Taiwan, it is recommended to isolate and observe , Do a good job of self-health management.

                                "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
                                -Nelson Mandela