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Newborn baby diagnosed with coronavirus 30 hours after being born

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

A newborn baby has become the youngest person so far to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

According to the Global Times newspaper, the baby in Wuhan, China, has been diagnosed with the infection just 30 hours after bring born.

The youngster is said to be in a stable condition and is being constantly monitored.

Currently only a small number of children have been diagnosed with the virus, which has so far resulted in 563 deaths.

A customer sleeps while waiting for a store selling face masks to open in Hong Kong over coronavirus fears (Getty)

The diagnosis in the coronavirus epicentre has led medical experts to suggest the virus can somehow be transmitted between mother and baby.

Zeng Lingkong, chief physician of Wuhan Children Hospital's neonatal medicine department, told Reuters: "This reminds us to pay attention to mother-to-child being a possible route of coronavirus transmission.”

However, Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in the US, told Business Insider that it was “quite possible that the baby picked it up very conventionally” by inhaling the virus from its mother’s coughs.

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Meanwhile, hospitals in the UK have been told to create "priority assessment pods" for people with suspected coronavirus to keep them away from other patients.

A letter from Professor Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident director for coronavirus, said plans were needed to avoid a "surge in emergency departments due to coronavirus”.

Patients who think they have symptoms will be directed to a pod away from A&E, from where they can call specialist NHS 111 teams on a dedicated phone.

A woman passes by a poster about precautions against a new coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea (AP)
Workers wearing protective gears spray disinfectant as a precaution against a new coronavirus at a theater in Seoul, South Korea (AP)

An assessment will be made by NHS 111 and A&E staff told of the patient's location if further testing is deemed necessary.

The idea is to keep people isolated and away from other patients until an assessment is made.

The letter, revealed by The Independent, says the pods will then need to be decontaminated each time they are used.

It warns that emergency departments must prepare for a bigger influx of patients.

People wear masks on a downtown street corner in Hong Kong (AP)
People queue at a pharmacy to buy face masks at Siam square in Thailand following the coronavirus outbreak (PA)

The letter also reportedly instructs all chief executives and medical directors to have the pods up and running no later than Friday.

An NHS spokesperson said: "Anyone returning from Hubei province in the last 14 days should stay indoors, avoid contact with other people and call NHS 111 whether or not they are showing symptoms.

"Anyone with a cough, fever, or shortness of breath who attends hospital and has recently returned from China, will be advised to follow signs to NHS 111 pods and call for advice, so they stay isolated from other patients and avoid causing unnecessary pressure in A&E."