'Covid-19' is official name for coronavirus

Wednesday, 12 Feb, 2020

Scientists from around the world are reviewing how the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is transmitted and possible vaccines at a World Health Organisation (WHO) conference that kicked off on Tuesday.

WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that the decision was important to avoid stigma and that other names could be inaccurate.

China has reported 42,708 confirmed confirmed cases, including 1,017 deaths, Tedros said, noting that there were fewer than 400 cases in 24 other countries with one death.

However, he remained optimistic that there was a "realistic chance" of stopping the virus.

The World Health Organization says it is sending a team to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak as the case numbers continue to rise; Jonathan Serrie reports from Atlanta. "Our objective remains containment", he said.

Statistics from China indicate about 2% of people infected with the new virus have died, and many had pre-existing medical conditions or were elderly.

Dr. David Heymann, who led WHO's response to the global 2002-03 SARS outbreak, said doctors don't entirely understand how the HIV drugs might work to fight the new virus, but hope they will buy patients some time.

"We need collective knowledge, insight and experience to answer the questions we don't have answers to, and to identify the questions we may not even realize we need to ask to stop the #2019nCoV outbreak", he added.

"We are following up for more information, and will provide any support and assistance to them that is required", the email from consular staff and obtained by the ABC said.

The Chinese city is the epicenter of the outbreak.

World Health Organization declared the outbreak on January 30 a global emergency after the Chinese central government blocked 60 million people in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus that appeared in a fish market in December.

Michael Ryan, head of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, said it was "way too early" to call the Singapore conference a "super-spreading event".

Cisco Systems Inc, Facebook Inc, AT&T and Sprint Corp became the latest US technology companies to pull out of an global telecoms conference in Barcelona because of the outbreak.

Tuesday's announcement follows last Thursday's news that two more presumptive cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed in British Columbia.

Washington, whose travel measures have offended Beijing, authorized the voluntary departure of US government employees and family members from Chinese-ruled Hong Kong "out of an abundance of caution", the State Department said. Most deaths and cases are in Hubei.

Chinese officials first started restricting travel into and out of Wuhan on January 23 and later expanded lockdowns to include several other areas of Hubei Province.