Seoul, Jan. 24: Passengers walk under a monitor displaying information on the Wuhan coronavirus at SRT train terminal. South Korea has had one documented case of the virus since its emergence in China’s Hubei province last month.
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
The latest

  • Canada has confirmed its first presumptive case of coronavirus, or 2019-nCov. The patient is a man in his 50s who had travelled to Wuhan, and is in isolation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. At least 20 patients in Canada have been tested for the SARS-like virus, Travellers are being screened at Vancouver, Toronto and Montreals airports.
  • France confirmed its first three cases of Wuhan coronavirus late Friday, the first cases to be reported in Europe. Malaysia also confirmed three cases.
  • U.S. health officials confirmed a second American case of the Wuhan coronavirus in Chicago on Friday as China continued unprecedented travel restrictions affecting tens of millions of people and more than a dozen cities, all in hope of preventing the deadly diseases spread.
  • The World Health Organisation has declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China, where it has killed 56 people and infected nearly 1,900. A handful of cases have been reported in neighbouring Asian countries, but the WHO said Thursday that it was too early to declare it an international health emergency.

What does this virus do?
The new virus that emerged last December in China officially called 2019-nCoV, but dubbed the Wuhan virus after the city where it was found is a coronavirus, a common type of infection among humans and animals. Corona means crown or halo in Latin, describing the viruses typical shape when seen under an electron microscope. The common cold is a type of coronavirus, but the Wuhan viruss symptoms resemble the more serious and dangerous types, such as SARS and MERS.
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS
INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal contamination
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS?
Headache
Runny nose
Sore throat
Cough
Fever
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal contamination
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS?
Headache
Runny nose
Sore throat
Cough
Fever
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal
contamination
COMMON SIGNS OF INFECTION
Headache
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
Runny nose
Sore throat
Cough
Fever
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
Where has it spread?
Hong Kong, Jan. 21: Gabriel Leung, chair professor of public health medicine at the University of Hong Kong, speaks about the extent of the Wuhan virus.
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images
As of Jan. 25, over 1,300 confirmed or suspected infections and 42 deaths have been recorded in China, according to the Chinese governments tracking website. Most cases are in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, with a few cases in Beijing, Shanghai and other provinces. The viruss spread coincided with the movement of hundreds of millions of people in Chinas Lunar New Year, often described as the largest human migration on Earth. In an extraordinary step, the Chinese government closed or restricted transit to Wuhan and more than dozen other cities, affecting as many as 35 million people.
A handful of confirmed infections, but no deaths, have been reported so far in Canada, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, France, the United States and Australia. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed two cases in the United States, one in Washington state and one in Chicago; both had recently travelled to Wuhan.
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The World Health Organization debated whether to declare an international health emergency defined as an extraordinary event that threatens multiple countries and requires a co-ordinated response but decided on Jan. 24 that it was too soon to do that.
Now, new evidence is emerging that officials in Wuhan deliberately downplayed the virus, even after formally notifying the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, which initially described it as a a cluster of pneumonia cases.
The Wuhan government took a refrigerating strategy early on and medical staff were banned from speaking publicly about what was taking place, a doctor at Wuhan Union Hospital told China News Weekly.
Echoes of SARS
A man adjusts his protective mask as he leaves the SARS Clinic at the Women’s College Hospital, in Toronto, in a 2003 file photo.
Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press
In March, 2003, an outbreak of SARS traced originally to Chinas Guangdong province killed 44 people in Canada. Health-care workers accounted for 43 per cent of the SARS cases in this country. Globally, 20 per cent of confirmed SARS cases were health-care workers.
The U.S. CDC said 774 people died of SARS, which sickened a total of 8,098 people worldwide. Overall, 438 Canadians were diagnosed with probable and suspected cases of SARS. The WHO only counts probable cases and its final numbers suggested that 8,422 people around the world were infected with the virus.
The hardest-hit country outside Asia was Canada, which recorded 44 deaths, 3,301 hospitalizations and billions of dollars in economic losses as visitors avoided Toronto during what came to be known as the Spring of Fear.
B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said unlike the SARS outbreak, officials have already developed a test for the new coronavirus, are aware of the symptoms and have some idea of how the illness progresses. And the 2019-nCoV virus doesnt appear to be as deadly as SARS was, Dr. Henry said.
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Further reading
New coronavirus tests scientists ability to tangle with an evolutionary trickster
David McKeown: Dont let the coronavirus mutate into an epidemic of fear and panic
André Picard: There is a new coronavirus on the loose, but we dont have to repeat the mistakes of SARS
Compiled by Globe staff
With reports from Nathan VanderKlippe, Carly Weeks, Ivan Semeniuk, Kelly Grant, Andrea Woo, The Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press