Daily News Roundup

January 21, 2020

Chinese authorities have confirmed that a new strain of coronavirus has been passed from person to person, sparking fears of a global epidemic.
Image: ABC News


Chinese authorities have confirmed that a new strain of coronavirus has been passed from person to person, sparking fears of a global epidemic.

The new virus, which causes pneumonia, has spread to new cities and has infected some medical staff, China’s National Health Commission has said. 

The country’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert and head of the health commission team investigating the outbreak, had confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong Province were from human-to-human transmission.

The outbreak began in the city of Wuhan and has now spread to other cities including the capital Beijing and Shanghai. 

In Beijing, five new cases have been confirmed with 14 more in Guangdong province. A new case has been reported in Shanghai, bringing the number of known cases worldwide to 222.

On Monday, South Korea reported a new case of the virus involving a Chinese traveller from Wuhan. Thailand has also reported two confirmed cases of the virus, both of whom were Chinese tourists from Wuhan.

Japan has confirmed one case of a Japanese citizen who visited Wuhan. 

Three people are known to have died with the number of cases tripling. 

Australia’s chief medical officer said there was no cause for alarm in Australia following the outbreak of the deadly virus. 

China’s President Xi Jinping said curbing the outbreak and saving lives was the top priority. 

“People’s lives and health should be given top priority and the spread of the outbreak should be resolutely curbed,” he said on state television. 

There is no vaccine for the virus. 

Authorities around the globe, including in the United States and many Asian countries, have stepped up screening of travellers from Wuhan in preparation for Chinese New Years.

“Wuhan is a major hub and with travel being a huge part of the fast approaching Chinese New Year, the concern level must remain high,” he said. 

The virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002-03 outbreak that started in China. 

Symptoms of the virus include, fever and difficulty breathing, which are similar to many other respiratory diseases and pose complications for screening efforts. 

The World Health Organisation said that “an animal source” appeared to be the primary source of the outbreak and that some “limited human-to-human transmission” occurred between close contacts. 

Experts believe initial cases of the coronavirus were linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, which has now closed as authorities investigate. 


South East Queensland has gone from one extreme to the next, with several days of torrential rain and storms in some areas followed by parts of the region being in a severe heatwave.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Peter Markworth said “extreme conditions” would occur over the next few days as temperatures climb up 5 degrees Celsius above average. 

“That’s happening with both the maximum and minimum temperatures…because we have a lack of cooling over those days,” Mr Markworth said. 

“Combined with increased humidity, it will make for quite a sweaty few days.”

The temperature will soar into the mid-20s until Friday in Brisbane, with overnight temperatures not expected to drop below 25C. 

On Monday night, it only fell to 25.6 degrees in Brisbane where areas such as Hervey Bay only reached 27C. 

BOM said the apparent temperature (what it felt like) was more than 30C in Brisbane. 

The heatwave is being caused by warmer air and moisture that has travelled down the coast from north Queensland. 

North Queensland Wildlife Care spokesman Daniel Edney said the scorching conditions killed hundreds of bats in Ingham.

“They overheat just the same as we do…with such high temperatures they get heat stroke and they can die,” Mr Edney said. 


Police are asking for public assistance to find a man in relation to an attempted abduction in Melbourne’s Southbank. 

The man followed a 23-year-old woman for at least two blocks to an apartment building in Kavanagh Street just after 2:00am on Saturday, January 18.

The woman entered her building via the carpark where the man followed her in.

She was unaware of the man until he got into the lift with her. 

The woman got out at her floor and walked to her door when the man grabbed her from behind, covering her nose and mouth with one hand and putting the other around her waist, pulling her away from the door.

The woman managed to grab her door handle and fell into her apartment where her housemates helped her and the offender ran away. 

Melbourne Crime Investigative Unit detectives have described the man as being aged in his 20s with a thin build, brown eyes, dark eyebrows and was clean-shaven. 

The offender was wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans, black runners with white edge and a black cap with a white logo.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers.

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