Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Saudi Arabia asks people arriving from four countries to self-quarantine

Saudi Arabia has asked people who have traveled to Lebanon, Egypt, Italy or South Korea to self-quarantine for two weeks from the day of their arrival in the Kingdom, Saudi state media quoted the health ministry as saying on Saturday. It asked people who had visited any of the four countries showing symptoms of the virus to contact the authorities.

Cancer patient aboard coronavirus-stalled cruise faces possible chemotherapy delay

Among the 2,400 passengers stranded off the California coast on a cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with coronavirus, few people aboard likely have more to lose than Kari Kolstoe, a retiree from North Dakota with stage-4 cancer. Kolstoe, 60, said she and her husband, Paul, 61, had looked forward to the Grand Princess cruise to Hawaii as a brief, badly needed respite from the grind of medical intervention she has endured for the past 18 months.

What you need to know about coronavirus right now

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus: The spread

Italian coronavirus cases leap, government to take new steps

The number of coronavirus cases in Italy, Europe's worst-hit country, leapt by more than 1,200 in a 24-hour period, the Civil Protection Agency said on Saturday, the biggest daily rise since the epidemic began two weeks ago. Deaths due to the infectious virus were up 36 to 233, the head of the agency, Angelo Borrelli, told a news conference.

$2 billion needed to develop COVID-19 shot, says epidemic response group

A global coalition set up to fight epidemic diseases issued a call on Friday for $2 billion to support the development of a vaccine against the new coronavirus that is causing COVID-19 infections around the world. Describing the outbreak as an "unprecedented threat in terms of its global impact", the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said that while containment measures would help slow the spread, a vaccine was key to longer-term control.

Number of UK coronavirus cases rises by 46 to 209

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom has risen to 209, up from 163, health officials said on Saturday. So far in Britain, two patients who had confirmed positive for the virus have died, the health ministry and the Public Health England agency said.

FDA head says 2.1 million coronavirus tests will have been shipped to labs by Monday

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday that materials for 2.1 million coronavirus tests will have been shipped to non-public U.S. labs by Monday, as the Trump administration aims to counter criticism that its response to the disease has been sluggish. Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, told reporters at the White House that manufacturers have told the agency they believe that by the end of next week they could scale up to a capacity of 4 million additional tests.

Two nursing home residents in British Columbia test positive for coronavirus

Two residents at a long-care facility in British Columbia with no recent travel history have tested positive for the new coronavirus infection, making it Canada's first known case of the disease at a nursing home, provincial officials said on Saturday. The two residents at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver tested positive after a health worker at the facility was detected with the coronavirus, prompting authorities to conduct extended tests, British Columbia health officer Bonnie Henry told reporters.

Coronavirus spreads in French parliament

A second member of France's National Assembly has been taken to hospital after contracting coronavirus and five other lawmakers are being tested for the illness, the lower house's presidency said in a statement on Saturday. The Assembly did not name the two legislators who have caught the disease but local media in the eastern region of Alsace have reported that the first of the two lawmakers is Jean-Luc Reitzer, who represents one of the departments most affected by the outbreak and is currently under intensive care.

U.S. telehealth companies brace for demand spike as coronavirus spread accelerates

The U.S. telehealth industry, including market leader Teladoc Health Inc, is preparing for a surge in demand as public health officials aiming to contain the fast-spreading new coronavirus encourage use of alternatives to clinic visits and patients seek to avoid public spaces. The virus, which originated in central China in December, has spread to around 90 countries with more than 3,400 deaths worldwide. It has also spread across the United States with cases so far in 17 states and 14 deaths, all but one in Washington state.