Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Coronavirus spreading fast but stigma is more dangerous: WHO

Coronavirus now appears to be spreading much more rapidly outside China than within but can still be contained, and stigma is more dangerous than the disease itself, the World Health Organization said on Monday. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said almost nine times as many cases had been reported outside China as inside in the previous 24 hours, adding that the risk of coronavirus spreading was now very high at a "global level".

Italy's lockdown: just rockin' the quarantine away

Teenagers with bottles of beer in their hands listen to loud music on a patchy lawn as a train speeds by the northern Italian town of San Fiorano, in a "red zone" - one of the areas placed under quarantine at the heart of Italy's coronavirus outbreak. The Civil Protection Agency said on Monday the total number of confirmed cases in Italy had jumped to 2,036 from the 1,694 reported on Sunday. Fifty-two have died.

Saudi Arabia announces first case of coronavirus

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced its first case of the new coronavirus, a Saudi national returning from Iran through Bahrain, the Health Ministry said. The ministry said on its official Twitter account that the individual, who is in quarantine in hospital, had not disclosed his visit to Iran when entering Saudi Arabia.

Italy coronavirus deaths jump to 52, cases climb above 2,000

The death toll from coronavirus in Italy jumped to 52 on Monday from 34 the day before and the total number of confirmed cases in Europe's worst affected country climbed past the 2,000 mark. The increase in deaths was the largest since the outbreak surfaced 10 days ago in the wealthy northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto. Lombardy, around Italy's financial capital Milan, is by far with hardest hit, with 38 casualties.

U.S. Supreme Court takes up Democratic bid to defend Obamacare

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a politically explosive case on whether Obamacare is lawful, taking up a bid by 20 Democratic-led states including California and New York to preserve the landmark healthcare law. The impetus for the Supreme Court case was a 2018 ruling by a federal judge in Texas that Obamacare as currently structured in light of a key Republican-backed change made by Congress violates the U.S. Constitution and is invalid in its entirety. The ruling came in a legal challenge to the law by Texas and 17 other conservative states backed by President Donald Trump's administration.

Six dead of coronavirus in Seattle area, U.S. officials scramble to prepare for more cases

Six people in the Seattle area have died of illness caused by the new coronavirus, health officials said on Monday, as authorities across the United States scrambled to prepare for more infections, with the emphasis on ratcheting up the number of available test kits. Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief health officer for the Seattle and King County Public Health agency, announced the increase in fatalities from the previous two in Washington state.

Brazil's Hypera Pharma to acquire drugs from Japan's Takeda for $825 million

Brazil's Hypera Pharma said on Monday that it has signed a contract to buy a portfolio of 18 products from Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co for $825 million. Shares in Hypera soared on the news, and were up 14.1%, at 39.13 reais, in afternoon trading in Sao Paulo.

Online pharmacy Valisure says tests show carcinogen in diabetes drug metformin

Online pharmacy Valisure said on Monday its tests showed high levels of a probable cancer-causing impurity in diabetes drug metformin. High levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) were found in metformin made by 11 companies, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc and Aurobindo Pharma Ltd, the company said in a statement.

Special Report: Broken Health - The medical crisis that’s aggravating Iraq’s unrest

On the walls of Basra children's cancer hospital hang photos of some of the youngsters who've been treated there. Most are smiling. Some of the portraits have a black stripe in the upper left corner. Those are pictures of children who passed away. Hesham Abdullah says he quit his office job to care for his son Mostafa, 14, and sold his house and all the family's valuables to pay for treatment. With no medical insurance, he estimates he has spent at least $120,000 on black market medicines and trips to overseas clinics. His family of five had to move in with his brother.

France says it now has 191 confirmed cases of coronavirus

France has 191 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the head of the public health service, Jerome Salomon, said on Monday, raising the total from 130 a day earlier. He added three had died so far from the disease.