Child rushed to Sydney hospital with coronavirus symptoms

An Australian child has been rushed to Sydney Children’s hospital after showing symptoms of the deadly coronavirus.

The child arrived at Sydney international airport on Friday night and is the fifth person in Australia to be tested for the contagious infection.

Paramedics and hospital staff were seen wearing protective equipment and face masks as they transported the patient.

The child was tested for the virus and later released.

An Australian child has been rushed to Sydney Children’s hospital after showing symptoms of the deadly coronavirus. Source: 9NEWS

Australians tested for coronavirus

NSW Health authorities confirmed on Saturday there are five possible coronavirus cases under investigation.

On Friday, NSW authorities said four people had been tested for coronavirus with two patients cleared and another two still awaiting results. 

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the four patients have been placed in isolation and do not pose a risk of transmitting the virus that has so far killed 26 people in China.

"We're encouraging people who have come back from Wuhan, or who have been in contact with confirmed cases in China or in other countries, to please seek care if you develop any symptoms of fever, sore throat, pneumonia, a cough or respiratory symptoms of any sort," she said.

Dr Chant said testing currently takes about six hours but that time frame will likely shrink in the future.

"It is important that we detect cases early," she said.

Paramedics and hospital staff were seen wearing protective equipment and face masks as they transported the patient. Source: 9News

Dr Chant stressed there were no confirmed cases in NSW at present and authorities would update the public if there were any confirmations.

So far the death toll from the new coronavirus stands at 26 with more than 800 people infected.

Coronavirus spreads to new continent

France has confirmed its first two cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, with one patient being hospitalised in Paris and the other in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.

Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told a news conference on Friday these were the first two confirmed cases in Europe and that more cases were likely to occur in France.

Earlier, the charity SOS Medecins said it had treated a patient of Chinese origin who was showing symptoms of a fever and who said he had been in contact with people from Wuhan province in China, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Buzyn said this patient was 48 years old and had returned two days ago from a trip to China which included a stop in Wuhan.

Airports around the world have stepped up screening of passengers from China. Source: AAP

Two US patients diagnosed with coronavirus

A Chicago woman has become the second US patient diagnosed with the dangerous new virus from China, health officials have announced.

The woman in her 60s returned from China on January 13 without showing any signs of illness, but three or four days later she called her doctor to report feeling sick.

The patient is doing well and remains hospitalised "primarily for infection control," said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago's public health commissioner.

Earlier this week, a man in Washington state became the first US patient, also diagnosed after returning from a trip to the outbreak's epicentre in central China.

A woman in her 60's has become the second US patient diagnosed with coronavirus. Dr. Allison Arwady (left) said the patient remains in hospital 'primarily for infection control.'

The Washington state patient was in satisfactory condition Friday in an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, north of Seattle.

Nurses who've trained for Ebola patients are providing his care, wearing hoods with plastic face shields and using respirators to breathe filtered air. 

Nationally, over 2000 returning travellers had been screened at US airports and 63 patients in 22 states were being tested, although 11 of them so far have been found free of the virus, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Following a congressional briefing by health officials, Republican Senator John Barrasso, a former physician, said people in the United States with the virus may have been infected as long as 14 days earlier in China.

"We want to try to stop and prevent people from coming to the United States if they have it," Barrasso told reporters, without providing any details of how that might be accomplished.

World Health Organisation declares an emergency 

China has shut part of the Great Wall and suspended public transport in 10 cities, stranding millions of people at the start of the Lunar New Year holiday as authorities rush to contain the virus that has killed 26 people and confirmed to have infected 830 people.

The World Health Organization has declared the new coronavirus an "emergency in China" but stopped short of declaring it of international concern.

Wuhan is the epicentre of the virus, a city of 11 million at the centre of the outbreak and is in virtual lockdown. Nearly all flights at Wuhan's airport have been cancelled and checkpoints blocked the main roads leading out of town.

China has fast-tracked the building of a new hospital in Wuhan to help deal with deadly coronavirus. Source: AP

As the city slides into isolation, pharmacies have begun to run out of supplies and hospitals have been flooded with nervous residents.

The city is rushing to build a 1000-bed hospital by Monday, state media said.

The facility will be a prefabricated structure on a 25,000 sq m lot, slated for completion February 3.

The World Health Organisation said on Thursday it was a "bit too early" to designate the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, which would require countries to step up their response.

That decision could well be reassessed in coming days as the situation evolves, said Anthony Fauci, the US National Institutes of Health's top infectious disease official, adding that it was "open to question" whether shutting down travel would have a major effect.

The newly-identified coronavirus has created alarm because there are still many unknowns surrounding it, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.

It can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.

—With AAP

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