Coronavirus spreads as U.S. evacuees return from Wuhan and U.S. mulls China travel ban

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Real time tracking the Coronavirus. Photo via Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Global Cases (by Johns Hopkins CSSE)

A plane chartered by the U.S. government to evacuate 201 Americans from the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak was on its way to Southern California Wednesday morning. It was carrying diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan and other U.S. citizens. All the evacuees cleared initial health checks in China and then during a refueling stop in Alaska.

By Wednesday morning the flu-like virus had killed at least 132 people, all of them in China. Close to 6,000 others have been infected in more than a dozen countries, including five confirmed cases in the United States. More than 100 people in the U.S. were being tested for the disease across 26 states on Tuesday.

Before the flight left China there were more than 1,000 Americans stuck in Wuhan. Other countries have also begun evacuating citizens from China on chartered flights, and some major airlines were halting flights to mainland China. The Trump administration was considering a complete travel ban on China as it evaluates the best ways to stop the virus spreading.

Coronavirus can be transmitted by people showing no symptoms, and a top British infectious disease specialist said Monday that the actual number of cases around the world could be close to 100,000.

Now the option to track the spread of the Coronavirus in real-time is available. Click here for the live map that shows all reported cases of the deadly virus.

U.S. considering China travel ban as virus spreads
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said a complete ban on travel to and from China is among the options the Trump administration is considering as it tries to address the rapid spread of the deadly new coronavirus.

Pompeo noted to reporters on a flight to Europe Wednesday that the U.S. had issued its highest level of alert for Wuhan, warning Americans to entirely avoid the city considered ground-zero of the outbreak.

“We will evaluate it on a continuous basis, literally hour by hour, whether that’s the appropriate level in Wuhan and whether we get it right in other places,” Pompeo said. “That includes travel advisories, a wide range of things, including banning travel.”

Australian lab says it’s recreated virus in bid to help stem it
Scientists in Australia have claimed a “significant breakthrough” in efforts to combat the rapid spread of the deadly new strain of coronavirus from China.

CBS News partner network BBC News said researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity had become the first to recreate the “novel coronavirus 2019” strain outside of China. Chinese researchers have also duplicated the virus, but BBC said they have only shared its genome sequence with the World Health Organization. The Australian researchers said they would provide the duplicated virus to the WHO to help efforts to diagnose and treat it.

Researchers at the specialist lab in Melbourne told the BBC they were able to grow a copy of the virus from a sample taken from an infected patient.

“We’ve planned for an incident like this for many, many years and that’s really why we were able to get an answer so quickly,” the Doherty Institute’s Dr Mike Catton told the BBC.

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