New Fatal Virus Infects Two in France, Likely Spreads Person-to-Person

A deadly new strain of coronavirus, a SARS-like respiratory virus, has now spread to France, where it has infected at least two people. But it gets even more exciting. After the French health ministry's confirmation of the second infection, the World Health Organization announced that it's likely that the virus can be passed person-to-person.

"Of most concern... is the fact that the different clusters seen in multiple countries increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact this novel coronavirus can transmit from person to person," the World Health Organization said on Sunday.

France's first confirmed case was a 65-year-old man who had just returned from a vacation in Dubai. The second confirmed case was a 50-year-old man who shared a hospital room with the first victim.

The virus, which causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure, has been detected in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Germany, and France. So far, there have been 33 confirmed infections with 18 deaths, including nine alone in Saudi Arabia.

As scary as it sounds, the WHO cautioned that there's no current concern that the virus will lead to a full on Contagion-like scenario.

"This pattern of person-to-person transmission has remained limited to some small clusters and so far, there is no evidence to suggest the virus has the capacity to sustain generalised transmission in communities."

So no need to stockpile supplies and lock yourself in your home, at least not yet.

[Image via AP]

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