Woman cured of coronavirus contracts it a second time

A woman has tested positive for coronavirus twice.

The woman, a resident of Osaka in Japan, was reinfected with the virus after having recovered from an earlier infection, Osaka’s government said.

Her case, the first known of in Japan, highlighted how much is still unknown about the virus even as concerns grow about its global spread.

The number of cases in Japan rose on Thursday to more than 200, up from the official tally of 186 late on Wednesday. On the main northern island of Hokkaido, 15 new cases, including two children under the age of 10, were confirmed.

The government has urged that big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks to contain the virus while pledging that the 2020 Summer Olympics will go ahead in Tokyo. But its handling of the virus has drawn increasing criticism, including from opposition politicians.

A number of events have been cancelled at the Tokyo Dome (pictured) due to coronavirus. Source: Getty Images

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe got support from the International Olympic Committee as its head, Thomas Bach, told Japanese media the IOC is "fully committed" to holding the Games on schedule. 

Mr Bach told a conference call the committee "is fully committed to a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 24," Kyodo News reported.

All schools in Japan to close to contain virus

Japan's entire school system, from primary to high schools, will be asked to close from Monday until spring break late in March to help contain the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Abe said on Thursday.

The dramatic escalation of Japan's fight against the virus follows rising criticism of what has been seen as a lukewarm government response.

"This coming week or two are an extremely important period," Abe told a coronavirus task force.

"Prioritising child health and safety above everything else, we will ask all the elementary, junior high and high schools across Japan to temporarily close from March 2 to spring break."

Tokyo residents wear face masks on the subway. Source: Getty Images

The Japanese school year ends in March, with spring vacation usually starting the last week of the month.

A leading virologist says it’s likely all Australians will eventually contract the deadly coronavirus in some form as the outbreak continues to rapidly spike outside of mainland China.

University of Queensland professor Ian Mackay told The Australian the virus is likely to be “with us for life”.

“It doesn’t look like that virus is ever going to go back in its box,” he said.

“If that’s the case, at some point in the coming months or years we’re all going to get infected.”

Workers check the temperatures of passengers leaving the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was quarantined in Japan due to coronavirus. Source: Getty Images

UK cases rise to 16, Switzerland has nine

In Switzerland the number of coronavirus cases has risen to nine.

A young woman who returned to work at a daycare facility after traveling to Milan has tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities in Basel-City said late on Thursday.

"The young woman who resides in the canton of Basel-City is doing well given the circumstances," the region's health department said in a statement. 

"As a carer for children and young children working at a daycare in Riehen, she came into contact with many children. The health department is now making extensive checks in the patient's professional and personal environment accordingly."

The day care facilities in the town of Riehen normally care for around 100 children, the authorities said, but due to ongoing holidays, only a portion of the children had been present in the facility and in close contact with the affected woman.

People shop in central London as its confirmed there are 16 cases of coronavirus in the UK. Source: Getty Images

Another man who had been traveling with the woman also tested positive for the virus on Thursday, the authorities said, adding he resided in a different region, while outside of Basel, regional and national authorities on Thursday confirmed first cases in five further cantons.

Northern Ireland on Thursday confirmed its first case of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the United Kingdom to 16.

Northern Ireland's chief medical officer Michael McBride told journalists that the patient, the first confirmed case on the island of Ireland, had travelled from Italy via Dublin Airport. Authorities in the Republic of Ireland have been informed of the patient's movements, he said.

Earlier on Thursday, England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty confirmed two cases, who contracted the virus in Italy and Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Island. All three patients are receiving specialist care.

A lab support technician takes viral samples at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Source: Getty Images

Governments are ramping up measures to battle a looming global pandemic of the coronavirus as the number of new infections outside China, the source of the outbreak, for the first time surpassed those appearing inside the country.

The coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 2,800, the majority in China. Much remains unknown about the virus but it is clear there are vast ramifications of the world's second-biggest economy in lockdown for a month or more.

with Reuters

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