Coronavirus spreads to Australia, Malaysia and Nepal

Cases of Coronavirus have beendetected in Australia, Malaysia and Nepal as the virus has already claimed 41lives in China.

Malaysia today said it had confirmedthree cases of coronavirus infection, the first in the Southeast Asian country.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad saidthe three individuals infected were Chinese nationals and related to the66-year-old man who was confirmed by Singapore health authorities to havetested positive for the virus.

Coronavirus can cause pneumonia,which has been fatal in some cases. It is still too early to know just howdangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people.

The infected individuals were a65-year-old woman, wife of the man detected with the virus in Singapore, andtheir two grandsons, aged 11 and 2, Dzulkefly said.

The three have been admitted toSungai Buloh hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment and were considered to bein stable conditions, the minister said at a news conference.

In a separate statement, MalaysiaAirports said it has heightened screening of all passengers and crew arrivingfrom China at gateway airports across the country to minimise the potentialspread of the virus.

Australia confirmed its first caseof the new coronavirus today in Melbourne, with many pharmacies in the citycentre running out of protective masks despite health officials saying they arenot recommended.

A Chinese national in his 50s is instable condition in a Melbourne hospital after arriving from China on January19 on a flight from Guangzhou, Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos toldjournalists.

“It is important to stress thatthere is no cause for alarm to the community,” Mikakos said.

In neighbouring New South Wales,health officials said they were treating two cases as “probableinfections” although definite results of tests would only be known lateron Saturday.

Australia’s Chief Medical OfficerBrendan Murphy said that there might be more cases of coronavirus, givingsignificant travel from Wuhan city to Australia in the past.

“This is the first confirmedcase,” Murphy told a news conference. “There are other cases beingtested each day, many of them are negative, but I wouldn’t be surprised if wehad further confirmed cases.”

Australia is a popular destinationfor the Chinese. It saw about 1.4 million short-term arrivals from China lastyear.

A Nepali student visiting home fromChina tested positive for the new coronavirus, an official in Kathmandu said onFriday, making it the first confirmed case in the Himalayan nation.

“One patient tested positivefor coronavirus. He is a Nepali student studying in China,” MahendraShrestha, a Health Ministry spokesperson, told the news agency.

The student had come home on holidayfrom Wuhan in China, a ministry of health statement said. He is being keptunder surveillance and those in close contact with him were being monitored.

The airport in Wuhan — epicentre ofthe virus — was closed on January 23.

The ministry said it was seekinghealth information from all passengers travelling from China into Nepal.

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