Baby in Wuhan tests positive for coronavirus just 30 hours after birth, Latest World News - The New Paper

Baby in Wuhan tests positive for coronavirus just 30 hours after birth

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BEIJING A baby in China's epidemic-hit Wuhan city has been diagnosed with the coronavirus just 30 hours after being born, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday.

The infant is the youngest person recorded as being infected by the virus, which has killed more than 560 people since emerging late last year.

China Central Television quoted experts as saying it may be a case of "vertical transmission", referring to infections passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or immediately after.

The mother had tested positive for the virus before she gave birth.

The newborn had stable vital signs and no fever or cough, but was experiencing shortness of breath, the doctors said.

Chest X-rays showed signs of infection and there were some abnormalities in liver functions.

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

The hospital also disclosed details of a second case involving an infant who was born healthy on Jan 13. The baby's nanny was later diagnosed with the virus, and the mother days later. The baby started showing symptoms on Jan 29.

"Whether it was the baby's nanny who passed the virus to the mother who passed it to the baby, we cannot be sure at the moment. But we can confirm the baby was in close contact with patients infected with the new coronavirus, which says newborns can also be infected," Dr Zeng said.

However, he added that none of the infected infants were in critical condition.

China's national health commission said on Tuesday that the oldest person diagnosed with the virus is a 90-year-old, and that 80 per cent of reported deaths have been of patients 60 years of age and older.

The disease is believed to have emerged in December in a Wuhan market that sold wild animals, and spread rapidly as people travelled for the Chinese New Year holiday last month. - AFP, REUTERS