Health technology expert at IPsoft, Dr Vincent Grasso, has said that AI technologies could help slow down the spread of the infectious disease and contain the outbreak in a much shorter timeframe. This comes as almost 50,000 people around the world have now died from Coronavirus. Dr Grasso told Express.co.uk: “Artificial intelligence (AI) could provide much-needed relief in countries where the coronavirus has spiralled out of control, namely in China and neighbouring countries, and where doctors are reportedly being ‘pushed to the brink’.

“Hiring more doctors for these situations is costly and difficult, especially when the outbreak is spread across multiple countries lacking the resources.

“Conversational computing enables and empowers doctors and nurses to manage the care of affected patients with minimal human contact. 

“For example, hospitals can implement conversational AI in quarantined areas to help them obtain important information from patients while limiting external exposure, such as details of their physiological state, or logistical information concerning exposure sites.

“Conversational AI solutions can also act as a digital care assistant by providing quarantined patients with updates and information, i.e. giving them medication reminders, or by notifying human doctors when patients report more serious symptoms to ensure that the gravest cases are dealt with first.

“Not only does an AI approach minimise exposure risk level amongst hospital staff, but intelligent AI systems can process the captured data points to help infectious disease specialists and physicians learn more about how to best combat and treat the outbreak more effectively.”

World Health Organization (WHO) officials said today that a jump in the number of new cases of coronavirus in China reflects a “broader definition” of a case of infection.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said: “It is our current understanding that the new case

definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure.”

He said the Geneva-based United Nations health agency was seeking “further clarity” from China about recent updates to its case definition and reporting protocol for the coronavirus disease outbreak.

Health officials in China’s central province of Hubei said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on Wednesday.

This was the fastest rise in the daily count since the pathogen was identified in December.

Chinese scientists are also testing two antiviral drugs.

Preliminary clinical trial results are weeks away.

But a vaccine could take 18 months to develop.

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England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that what happens next with coronavirus depends on what happens in China.

He said: “This depends on what happens in China, broadly this goes one of two ways.

“One is that China gets on top of the epidemic and there are spillover cases around the world but those are contained, and we will have more cases in the UK – that’s highly likely – we may even get a little bit of onward transmission in the UK, and we’ll be able to pick up with those, and then the epidemic goes away. That is possible.”

He said this scenario could be aided by a change in the seasons, which could help dampen the spread of the virus.

He continued: “The alternative is that it’s not possible to contain in China and this then starts (to spread) – probably initially quite slowly – around the world and then unless the seasons come to our rescue, then it is going to come to a situation where we have it in Europe and the UK in due course.”

The UK has also confirmed nine cases of people with coronavirus.

The latest was a woman who was transferred to a specialist NHS centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in central London.

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the patient had contracted the virus in China.

She also reportedly developed symptoms after landing at Heathrow, called NHS 111 and then tested positive.

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