World Health Organization names new coronavirus ‘COVID-19’

Coronavirus patients, medical staff dance at Wuhan hospital to stay positive

Health officials in Hubei said they started to count clinically diagnosed cases to ensure that patients get treated as early as possible instead of having to wait for laboratory tests to confirm they have the COVID-19 disease.

With scientists still learning about how the pathogen spreads and where it came from, one thing that the United Nations health agency was able to say with certainty was that the disease has been officially named Covid-19.

Meanwhile, a raft of deaths and new infections continue to be reported in China. Out of these, 17 thousand 473 people have come in contact with those exposed to the virus. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

The latest death toll on Tuesday (February 11) from the new coronavirus outbreak in China stood at 1,016 with 42,638 cases being confirmed to date.

Members of a military medical team pose for a photo in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Jan, 30, 2020.

But the number of new infections nationally was down nearly 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.

Two stranded cruise ships have illustrated the fears surrounding Covid-19.

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World Health Organization emergency operations chief Mike Ryan urged governments to respect the "dignity and human rights of travellers".

"We must accept that under these circumstances there is no such thing as zero risk", he added.

Over 770 people had died worldwide during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

Meanwhile, WHO sent an advance team to China this week for an worldwide mission to examine the epidemic.

One patient in Macao and one in Taiwan have been discharged from hospital after recovery.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that vaccines for the new coronavirus could be available in 18 months, as it warned that the virus could create havoc in countries with weaker public health systems.

Participants will also discuss the source of the virus, which is thought to have originated in bats and reached humans via other "intermediary" species such as snakes or pangolins.

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