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Indian, first foreigner in China to contracts SARS-like virus

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NEW DELHI: A 45-year-old Indian woman has become the first foreigner in China to have contracted a mysterious virus, which is suspected to be Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like corona virus.

In 2002-2003, the SARS corona virus killed around 650 people in China and Hong Kong.

This time, the new coronavirus strain with 62 cases have been reported in Wuhan and two in Shenzhen so far. 19 patients have been already cured and discharged, as per the Chinese media.

Official sources in Beijing said that the patient, Preeti Maheshwari, a school teacher at an international school, is undergoing treatment for the new strain of pneumonia outbreak, which has been spreading in two major cities of China Wuhan and Shenzen. She has been on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

Maheshwari was admitted to a local hospital after she seriously fell ill last Friday. Her husband, a businessman from Delhi, is allowed to visit her daily.

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A seafood market is believed to be the centre of the outbreak in Wuhan, but health officials have reported that some patients had no history of contact with the facility.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement on Twitter Monday that “an animal source seems the most likely primary source” with “some limited human-to-human transmission occurring between close contacts”.

Wuhan has 11 million inhabitants and serves as a major transport hub, including during the annual Lunar New Year holiday which begins later this week and sees hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel across the country to visit family.

Following a second death due to the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, India on Friday issued an advisory to its nationals travelling to China. Over 500 Indian medical students are studying in Wuhan.

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