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Mon 03 February 2020:

Monday, February 3

More hospital beds for coronavirus patients in Wuhan

China has designated 27 hospitals in Wuhan for the treatment of coronavirus, the official Global Times reported on Monday.

Previously, people who suspected they were ill with the infection could go to only seven hospitals, causing long queues and days-long waits for treatment.

It is also building two giant field hospitals with the first of them due to go into operation on Monday.

“This is a hospital we’ve been talking about the last week or so, which has been been built in 10 days,” said Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, who is in Beijing. “It will be staffed by about 1400 Army medical people, workers, personal, doctors, nurses.”

Australia evacuates citizens from Wuhan to offshore quarantine

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said 243 citizens and permanent residents were evacuated from Wuhan on Monday on a government-chartered aircraft to Christmas Island, a remote Ausralian territory just south of the Indonesian island of Java.

They will be kept in quarantine at a detention centre on the island that Australia has previously used to hold asylum seekers.

“We have prioritised vulnerable and isolated Australians which is reflected in the fact that 89 of the Australians on the flight are under 16 and five are under two,” Payne told reporters in Canberra.

All passengers and crew were being given masks and hand sanitiser, and the crew were being told to remain on the upper deck of the plane except for when needed to man the doors.

The aircraft has medical grade air filters, which eliminate 99% of particles, including viruses, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.

“It’s a lot safer, a lot cleaner than being in a restaurant, in an office,” he said.

Vietnam confirms three more cases of coronavirus

Vietnam’s health ministry confirmed an additional three cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the country’s total to eight.

The latest patients were on the same flight from Wuhan to Vietnam as those who were diagnosed on January 30/

Vietnam has declared a public health emergency over the outbreak, and halted all flights to and from mainland China.

The government has also advised citizens to limit large gatherings.

Canada plans to airlift citizens from Wuhan via Hanoi

Canada said on Monday it planned to evacuate citizens from Wuhan via the Vietnam and that a chartered aircraft was on the ground in Hanoi awaiting clearance from the authorities in China.

Canada said all passengers would be screened before boarding and monitored throughout the flight to Trenton in Ontario, where they, the crew and diplomatic and military officials on the flight would remain in quarantine for 14 days.

China completes new hospital for virus patients

China completed building a 1,000-bed hospital for treating patients of the new coronavirus in just 10 days.

A second hospital with 1,500 beds is under construction.

China virus
A corridor between patient rooms at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. The field facility was built in just 10 days [Shepherd Zhou/EPA]

British drugmaker GSK to collaborate with CEPI in coronavirus vaccine effort

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is collaborating with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) towards developing a vaccine for the coronavirus outbreak, according to a statement from GSK and CEPI.

GSK will make its “adjuvant platform technology” available for developing a vaccine against the virus.

The use of adjuvant allows for the production of more vaccine doses.

GSK will work with researchers funded by the CEPI with the first agreement signed with Australia’s University of Queensland, the statement added.

There is currently no vaccine available against the coronavirus but several organisations including CEPI, a public-private body based in Norway are working at developing one.

France’s Pasteur Institute Foundation said on Friday it had set up a taskforce aimed at developing a vaccine against the virus in 20 months while Germany’s research minister said she expected a vaccine to be developed within “a few months”.


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