China has ramped up measures to contain the novel Coronavirus, which has so far claimed the lives of 26 people and affected over 800 people globally. The country has put restrictions on public movement in 13 cities, shut temples over the Lunar New Year and even closed the Forbidden City and part of the Great Wall, according to a report by Reuters.
Seven Chinese films scrapped premieres and Walt Disney’s Shanghai Disney Resort is to shut from Saturday, during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, often the busiest time of the year for the park.
It is, however, unlikely that the situation will get better soon. The World Health Organization (WHO) Friday predicted that cases of the new coronavirus will continue to rise. “The focus is not so much on the (case) numbers, which we know will go up,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a Geneva news briefing, adding that Chinese health authorities had officially reported 830 confirmed cases and 26 deaths. “It’s still too early to draw conclusions on how severe the virus is.”
Anticipating an increase in the number of cases, the Chinese city of Wuhan is rapidly building a new 1,000-bed hospital to treat victims, mobilising machinery to get it ready by early next week, the state media said.
Meanwhile, the WHO has declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.
Fears over the infection have nevertheless intensified across countries, including in India, which is gearing up to identify possible cases of coronavirus in passengers traveling from China.
Two Indians who travelled to Mumbai from China have been kept in an isolation ward at Kasturba Hospital, and their blood samples have been collected to check for the new strain of coronavirus. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital has also set up an isolation ward and kept beds ready for providing treatment to any suspected case of novel coronavirus infection. An Indian nurse working in Saudi Arabia has been infected with MERS and is under treatment in the Gulf nation
According to AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, as of now, there is no definite treatment, antibiotic or vaccine available to combat the particular virus strain and only supportive treatment for pneumonia is given. One has to follow preventive medication strategies.
A student who had returned from Wuhan has been found infected with Coronavirus, the Nepal Health Ministry has said.
Britain will convene an emergency response meeting to discuss measures to contain the virus, Reuters quoted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman as saying. “We remain in close contact with the World Health Organization and international partners, including China. We are ready to take further action if needed,” the spokesman said. Cases of new coronavirus in the United Kingdom are highly likely, one of the country’s top health bosses said.
Thailand has confirmed the fifth case of the new coronavirus, which is the second instance of the patient not being detected at the airport before entering the country. “The patient is a 33-year-old woman from Wuhan on vacation,” Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Patucha told Reuters, adding that she was under quarantine at Rajavithi hospital and her condition was improving.
Japan on Friday raised its infectious disease advisory level for China’s Hubei province to 3, telling its citizens not to take trips there due to the new coronavirus outbreak, the Foreign Ministry said.
Two Chinese citizens in Vietnam have tested positive for coronavirus, even as the southeast Asian country suspended flights to Wuhan. The father and son pair were hospitalised on Wednesday after showing signs of fever.
Flights to Moscow to Wuhan have been suspended over fears about the spread of the coronavirus strain, Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source as saying on Friday.
Coronavirus outbreak derails Olympic qualifiers
The outbreak of the virus has forced the organisers of boxing and football Olympic qualifiers in China to cancel their events, which were scheduled to be held next month. (Read here)
Called the Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, this is a new strain of coronavirus that reported an outbreak from Huanan seafood market in Wuhan city in December 2019. The WHO office in China was informed about pneumonia cases due to unknown causes on December 31, 2019. On January 1, the seafood market was closed after officials believed it to be the epicentre. The original strains of coronavirus are known to attack respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
(Inputs from Reuters)
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