Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Coronavirus turns busy Chinese cities into ghost towns

After making sure everyone's face mask is on and sanitizer is to hand, the Qiao family heads out to Jingshan Park, a former royal sanctuary beside the Forbidden City in China's capital Beijing. Snow has fallen for a second day, a rare event in the city of 21.5 million that would normally bring hundreds of thousands of people out to take photos and play. But the streets are empty and the parks are so quiet the only sound is of birds chirping.

African swine fever outbreak spreads in Philippines' southern provinces

The Philippines confirmed on Sunday that African swine fever infections had spread in the south of the country, which accounts for nearly a third of the nation's 12.8 million pig herd. Additional cases have also been identified in some northern provinces, the Department of Agriculture said.

China health body warns against excessive use of protective suits

China's National Health Commission called for the "reasonable use" of protective suits in a statement on Sunday and cautioned against "excessive and disorderly" use of the clothing that would waste resources and could also increase infection. The statement was issued as China faces a severe shortage of equipment, including suits, masks and goggles, to protect medical workers from infection amid a newly identified coronavirus that has killed more than 800 people.

Briton in French Alps may have spread coronavirus to others across Europe

A British man who contracted the new coronavirus while attending a conference in Singapore may have led to seven other people catching the disease when he stopped off at a chalet in a French mountain village on his way home, health experts said on Sunday. The man, Britain's third case of the virus, stayed for four days in the chalet in Les Contamines-Montjoie late last month, under the same roof as a group of British holidaymakers as well as a British family who lived in the village.

A mother's fight for toddler stranded in China's coronavirus epicenter

Amelia Pan is at home in Canada while her 2-year-old daughter Cerena is stranded far away in China's Hubei province, epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, being cared for by a distant relative after the girl's father and grand-parents fell ill. "I am just hanging in there," Pan, a Canadian citizen originally from China, said in a Skype interview. "I need to stay strong so I can fight for my family."

Fear can be more harmful than coronavirus, Singapore PM says after run on shops

Fear can do more harm than the spreading coronavirus, Singapore's prime minister said on Saturday, a day after the city-state raised its alert level, prompting residents to clear out supermarket shelves of rice, noodles and toilet paper. Singapore raised its response to "orange" - the same as during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak and the 2009 H1N1 influenza, which indicates the virus is severe and passes easily between persons.

Japan confirms 3 more coronavirus cases on cruise liner; total now 64

Another 3 people on a cruise liner off Japan have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases from the ship to 64, Japan's health ministry said on Saturday. Japan's health minister on Friday said 41 people aboard the Diamond Princess had tested positive for coronavirus in addition to 20 previously identified cases, with those infected being moved to hospitals on land.

'Enemy of mankind': Coronavirus deaths top SARS as China returns to work

China raised the death toll from its coronavirus outbreak to 811 on Sunday, passing the number killed globally by the SARS epidemic, as authorities made plans for millions of people returning to work after an extended Lunar New Year break. Many of China's usually teeming cities have almost become ghost towns during the past two weeks as Communist Party rulers ordered virtual lockdowns, canceled flights, closed factories and shut schools.