February 18 coronavirus news

7 new cases of coronavirus reported in Japan

Japan has seven new cases of novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday.

About the cases: The new cases include a teen in Wakayama and a male doctor in his thirties who went on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The doctor is a member of the disaster medical assistance team.

In Japan, a total of 613 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed, with 545 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and 68 outside the ship.

German researchers called symptom-based screening to detect the novel coronavirus “ineffective” in a new analysis published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers assessed the screening process for 126 people evacuated to Germany from Wuhan, China.

All 126 travelers, mostly German nationals, left Wuhan on February 1 and were screened for symptoms and clinical signs of infection before they were evacuated. Despite requiring travelers to undergo a multiple screenings once in Germany, two travelers were ultimately positive for the novel coronavirus. According to the researchers, “a symptom-based screening process was ineffective in detecting” the virus.

During the evacuation flight from Germany, 10 passengers were isolated: two because of contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient; six exhibited symptoms; and two passengers who had accompanied one of the six symptomatic travelers. Upon arrival, all 10 of these passengers were transferred to University Hospital Frankfurt and all tested negative for coronavirus.

The remaining 116 passengers underwent another medical assessment and one passenger had an elevated temperature and cough. This patient ultimately tested negative for coronavirus.

Of the remaining 115 patients, 114 consented to a throat swab to test for coronavirus. Of those 114 travelers, two tested positive for coronavirus. These two patients were isolated at a hospital. One patient had a faint rash and sore throat. According to the researchers, the two isolated patients were “well” and had no fever in the seven days after hospitalization. Aside from the ineffectiveness of the screening process, the authors found that the virus could potentially be spread by those who exhibited mild symptoms: “Shedding of potentially infectious virus may occur in persons who have no fever and no signs or only minor signs of infection.”

Over 73,000 people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus, most of those cases in mainland China. There have been more than 1,800 deaths, including five people outside of mainland China.