Thursday 13 February 2020 4:19 pm

Coronavirus: WHO says there is an 'urgent' need for vaccine

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that big decisions need to be made on the development of vaccines for the coronavirus.

In a briefing this afternoon Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO, said vaccines will require “huge investment” and “the state sector will have to take some of the risk with the private sector”.

Read more: Coronavirus: Hubei province leader sacked after spike in deaths

He added that there is an “urgency” for the vaccines and there may have to be investment in multiple candidates without any certainty they will work.

More than 60,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported across the world, resulting in at least 1,300 deaths.

The number of cases appeared to be stabilising until today, when a change in China’s methodology for diagnosis led to a dramatic spike in cases in Hubei province.

The coronavirus death toll increased by 242 in the province yesterday, with 14,840 people diagnosed with the virus. It brings the national death toll above 1,350, with almost 60,000 infections in total.

Ryan said the WHO will continue to track laboratory and clinically confirmed cases in Hubei province.

The WHO was keen to stress that other than the cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, there has not been a dramatic increase in transmission outside China.

The ship is under quarantine for two weeks after a previous passenger tested positive for the virus before disembarking.

Of the 3,700 people on board, over 200 people on the ship have tested positive, which represents the largest cluster of cases outside China.

Ryan added that 78 per cent of the 400 cases outside of China had a direct link to Wuhan.

Despite that, WHO welcomed the “strong support from the EU in supporting countries with weaker health systems”.

Read more: First coronavirus case reported in London

Japan confirmed its first fatality today while the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the 15th case in the US.

The first confirmed case in London was confirmed yesterday with the Guardian today reporting that the patient had showed up to the A&E department in an Uber.

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