Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

FDA to allow some labs to use coronavirus tests prior to review

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday said it will allow some laboratories to immediately use tests they have developed and validated to achieve more rapid testing capacity for the coronavirus in the country. The policy cleared the way for state public health labs to immediately begin local testing and possibly get results within hours, which public health officials say will be critical to a rapid response to the fast-spreading virus that originated in China.

Indonesia's frontline hospital defends policies to tackle coronavirus

Indonesia has the resources to cope with a coronavirus outbreak, the director of its leading infectious diseases hospital said, defending detection procedures in the Southeast Asian nation of more than 260 million, where no cases have been reported. The world's fourth most populous nation has tested 141 suspected cases, a small figure for its population, sparking concern among some medical professionals of a lack of vigilance and a risk of undetected cases.

Some Tenerife hotel guests head to airport after coronavirus tests

Tourists staying at a Tenerife hotel that has been on lockdown after five cases of the coronavirus were detected there are free to leave if they test negative for the virus, regional health authorities said on Sunday. Hotel guests, now on their sixth day of lockdown, can leave if they do not show symptoms, test negative for the virus less than 24 hours before their flight, and continue their period of isolation in their home country, the Canary Islands' health authorities said.

Coronavirus deaths rise in , government prepares economic support

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in has risen to 34, five more than a day earlier, officials said on Sunday, as the government prepared to boost spending to help the fragile economy. The head of 's Civil Protection Agency said the cumulative number of confirmed cases of the virus had jumped to 1,694 from 1,128 on Saturday, virtually all of them coming to light since Feb. 20 in the worst such contagion in Europe.

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Washington state nursing home on lockdown after two cases of coronavirus found

A nursing home near Seattle is locked down after a resident and a worker were found to have the new coronavirus, officials at the home said. The Life Care Center of Kirkland is not accepting new patients or allowing visitors, family or vendors into the facility while officials focus on the health of the current residents and staff, center officials said in a statement late on Saturday.

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U.S. to give Zambia $389 million grant for AIDS relief

The United States will give Zambia a new one year bilateral grant of $389 million for AIDS relief starting in October after Congressional approval, Zambia's ministry of health said in a statement. The grant under the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) follows a meeting on Zambia which was held last week in Johannesburg, South Africa.

UK health minister: We are planning in case coronavirus gets much worse

Britain is planning for the global coronavirus epidemic to get worse, health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday, describing the outbreak as a "very, very significant challenge". "We've got a clear strategy for dealing with coronavirus - a very, very significant challenge," Hancock told Sky News. "We're also planning in case this gets worse, much worse."

Brazil confirms second case of new coronavirus: Health Ministry

Brazil's Health Ministry on Saturday confirmed the country's second case of the fast-spreading new coronavirus, diagnosed in a 32-year-old patient in São Paulo who had recently visited and arrived on Thursday. The man returned to São Paulo accompanied by his wife and wore a mask during the flight from Milan, according to additional information on the case released by the ministry after a brief statement earlier.

Gatherings banned, travel restricted as coronavirus cases grow worldwide

Leaders in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas rolled out bans on big gatherings and stricter travel restrictions as cases of the new coronavirus spread around the world. The United States on Saturday reported its first death from the disease, a man in his 50s in Washington state, where officials said two of the state's three cases have links to a nursing home with dozens of residents showing disease symptoms.

U.S. ramps up preparations for coronavirus as conferences, flights canceled

The United States will start screening travelers for coronavirus and ramp up production of masks and test kits as the government scrambles to reassure Americans while the disease spreads and businesses cancel conferences and flights. administration officials on Sunday tried to calm market panic that the coronavirus could cause a global recession, saying the public had over-reacted and that stocks would bounce back due to the underlying strength of the U.S. economy.

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