A 30-hour-old baby trapped in the epicentre city of Wuhan has tested positive for the coronavirus, as the death toll in China rises to 490.
Doctors are now warning that pregnant women who become infected with the pneumonia-like virus can pass it on to their unborn child.
The revelation comes after a Chinese woman who was already diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus gave birth to an infected baby on February 2.
Doctors at the Wuhan Children’s Hospital made the discovery after running chest X-rays on the baby boy about 30 hours after he was born.
He has become the youngest of the 24,324 people in mainland China to have contracted the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, back in Australia, one state has taken a step further to contain the spread of the virus. Queenslanders suspected of being infected with the coronavirus will have no choice but to get tested under a proposed law expected to pass parliament on Thursday.
The public health emergency order can force anyone to get medically tested and even make them stay in isolation or quarantine.
Existing health emergency orders only cover a seven-day period.
They will be stretched to three months and can be drawn on at any time over the next year as officials around the globe work to contain the virus.
It will only apply to the novel coronavirus.
It comes as a 37-year-old man became the fourth person in Queensland to be diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday.
He travelled with three people who have been confirmed as having the virus, bringing the Australian total to 14 confirmed cases, including an 8-year-old boy.
State by state data shows three confirmed infections in Queensland, four each in NSW and Victoria and two in South Australia.
Three of the 14 have recovered and been released.
Two Australians on a cruise ship off Japan have also tested positive, with the Australian government monitoring the other Australians aboard.
They must stay on the ship in quarantine for two weeks.
None of the 241 evacuees taken to Christmas island have shown signs of the virus so far. They will remain in quarantine for two weeks.
On Thursday, they are expected to be joined by another 35 Australian citizens and permanent residents who were evacuated from China on an Air New Zealand flight.
In an effort to contain the spread, the World Health Organisation announced on Thursday morning (Australian time) a new coronavirus preparedness and response global plan to run from February to April.
Health leaders are calling for major investment to help less wealthy nations boost their health response in preparation for the virus hitting their shores.
Risk to unborn
After revealing one had tested positive just 30 hours after birth, Wuhan’s hospital later confirmed that another baby just 16 days old had been diagnosed with the coronavirus after showing signs of infection on January 29.
The baby’s mother and nanny also acquired the disease after the January 13 birth.
“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, Dr Zeng Lingkong.
The newborn is in a stable condition and suffering from shortness of breath – a severe symptom of the coronavirus.
“We can confirm that the baby was in close contact with patients infected with the new coronavirus, which says newborns can also be infected,” Dr Lingkong said.
It was also confirmed that a six-month-old infant born to an infected couple in Singapore had contracted the coronavirus, raising the number of confirmed cases to 28.