14:44 GMT20 February 2020
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    False reports of a coronavirus case being registered in Ecuador were disseminated Wednesday.

    In an official statement Wednesday, Reuters announced that it had erroneously reported the first case of coronavirus in Ecuador.

    "Please ignore the alert that went out at 05:37 ET (2237 GMT) saying Ecuador had confirmed its first case of coronavirus. The alert was issued in error and is withdrawn," the statement reads.

    The virus, which is officially known as 2019-nCoV and is related to the virus that causes sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), first began spreading in the Chinese city of Wuhan some time between December 12 and December 29.

    Both Spain and Belgium have recently confirmed their first cases of the coronavirus within their borders. So far, the virus has been registered in 28 countries.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday reported that more than 20,000 people worldwide have been infected by the coronavirus, which originated in China’s Hubei Province in December. At the time of this article's publication, at least 427 people have died from the virus, with 414 of the fatalities occurring in Hubei. Symptoms patients have experienced include fever and difficulty breathing. Chest radiographs of those infected show invasive lesions on their lungs.

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