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Four more sick with Wuhan virus

2020-01-18 HKT 02:19
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  • Clean-up work continues at a wet market in Wuhan linked to the outbreak. Photo: RTHK
    Clean-up work continues at a wet market in Wuhan linked to the outbreak. Photo: RTHK
Wuhan health authorities say four more people have been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus that has claimed two lives in the mainland city, taking the total to 45.

The four patients, who were confirmed to have the virus late on Friday, are all being treated at Wuhan's main hospital and are said to be in a stable condition.

Meanwhile Thailand detected its second case of the virus in a visitor from China, health officials said on Friday, as authorities ramp up airport screenings ahead of an expected surge in arrivals for Lunar New Year.

The 74-year-old Chinese woman is being treated at hospital after presenting with symptoms at Thailand's biggest airport Suvarnabhumi on January 13, according to the health ministry.

The UN's health agency says that the outbreak of the disease is a never-before-seen strain belonging to a broad family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as severe acutre respiratory syndrome, or Sars.

According to Arnaud Fontanet, head of Paris' Institut Paster department of epidemiology, the new strain is the seventh known type of coronavirus that humans can contract.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with Sars, which killed 349 people on the mainland and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Fontanet said that the coronavirus appears to be "weaker" than SARS in its current form, but cautioned that it could mutate into a more virulent strain.

"We don't have evidence that says this virus is going to mutate, but that's what happened with Sars," he said. "The virus has only been circulating a short time, so it's too early to say." (RTHK/AFP)