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; two other cases confirmed

A nursing home near Seattle is locked down after a resident and a worker were found to have the coronavirus, officials at the home said, and two other cases in the area were confirmed on Sunday. Officials with King County Public Health said the two latest cases involved men in their 60s with underlying medical issues. Both were listed in critical condition, one at Valley Medical Center, and the other at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

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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.

U.S. agency investigating production of faulty coronavirus test kits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on Sunday that it is investigating a manufacturing defect in some initial coronavirus test kits that prompted some states to seek emergency approval to use their own test kits. On Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would immediately begin using its own test kit developed in-state after asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday for permission to do so.

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."

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.

Washington state confirms second U.S. coronavirus death; New York reports first case

Health officials in Washington state said late Sunday that a nursing home resident had died after contracting coronavirus, while New York's governor confirmed his state's first positive case, as the virus moved out of its West Coast foothold. The coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, has decimated global markets as it quickly moves around the world. It appeared poised for a spike in the United States, in part because of more testing to confirm cases.

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