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Coronavirus update: Artificial Intelligence warned of the killer epidemic week before WHO

CORONAVIRUS warnings about the epidemic spreading beyond China were raised by artificial intelligence (AI) systems more than a week before the World Health Organization (WHO) broke the news.

Artificial intelligence predicted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) would spread to Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South Korea. The AI issued warnings a whole nine days before the WHO and six days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.

According to the Polish Economics Institute (PIE), the first coronavirus warnings were issued on December 31 by a Canada-based health monitoring startup.

The Canadian company, BlueDot, even correctly predicted the cities outside of China coronavirus would next appear: Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok.

PIE said: “Algorithms using artificial intelligence solutions identified the onset of the coronavirus epidemic a few days earlier than reported in the official information from international organisations such as the WHO or the CDC.”

BlueDot’s AI predicted the spread of coronavirus by analysing airline data, international news stories and reports of coronavirus animal infections.

Coronavirus update: AI systems predicted the international spread of COVID-19 (Image: REUTERS/GETTY)Coronavirus update: Map of coronavirus infections around the globe (Image: EXPRESS)

PIE said: “The algorithms used by BlueDot are based on the analysis of news services, officials reports and airline ticket databases.

“Previously, the company predicted as well the appearance of the Zika virus in southern Florida.”

The coronavirus disease, originally dubbed novel coronavirus (2019-nCov), was first traced to a busy seafood maker in Wuhan City, China.

Since then, the coronavirus has infected nearly 72,000 people globally, the majority of whom are in China.

As of Monday, February 17, the disease has also killed at least 1,775 people, with nearly 1,700 deaths in China's Hubei province alone.

According to PIE, early coronavirus warnings were also issued by the San Francisco-based company Metabiota.

The company correctly predicted Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan were most at risk from the disease.

PIE said: “It did so more than a week before the virus was confirmed in those countries.”

On Monday, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand were leading for the number of infections outside of China, with 77, 66, 58 and 35 respectively.

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Coronavirus update: The epidemic emerged in China's Wuhan City, Hubei Province (Image: REUTERS)Coronavirus update: The deadly disease attacks the respiratory system (Image: REUTERS)

In the UK, at least nine infections have been confirmed with more .

The new strain of coronavirus belongs to a family of infectious viruses known to attack both animals and humans.

The coronavirus family was responsible for the 2002 to 2003 outbreak of SARS or sever acute respiratory syndrome.

Coronavirus disease targets the respiratory system with flu-like symptoms, which include dry cough, fever and breathing difficulty.

If left untreated, coronavirus infections can deteriorate into pneumonia, kidney failure and death.

The WHO estimates the virus incubates between two and 14 days, during which infected people can spread the disease without knowing.

The CDC said: “Both MERS and SARS have been known to cause severe illness in people.

“The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood.

“Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including resulting in death.”

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