With isolated cases of the dangerous new coronavirus cropping up in a number of countries, health officials across the globe are on high alert. The virus has killed 170 people in China so far and infected more than 7,000 globally, most of them in China.
The outbreak has caused alarm because it is still too early to know how dangerous it is and there’s no vaccine to fight it as of now. Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus is believed to have originated, is under lockdown.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the common symptoms of the virus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Infections have been confirmed in over 14 countries including the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Vietnam, Canada, Germany, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. In India, isolated cases are under supervision.
Mainland China now has more cases of coronavirus than it had of SARS, a respiratory infection that spread across China in 2002 and 2003 and killed 774 people in 17 countries. During the SARS outbreak, China had 5,327 cases and 349 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
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The crisis has emerged as an unexpected challenge for President Xi Jinping. Chinese officials say its incubation period could range from one to 14 days, and it is infectious during that time. 100 deaths have been reported in China’ Hubei province alone. While no death has been reported outside China, countries across the globe have stepped up security
Here’s how countries are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak
The 201 Americans evacuated from the Chinese city at the center of the virus outbreak are undergoing three days of testing and monitoring at a Southern California military base to make sure they do not show signs of the virus. On January 23, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency US personnel and their family members. The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Hubei province. The US has confirmed five cases: two in California, one in Arizona, one in Washington, and one in Illinois.
14 cases have been reported from here. Five of the new cases reported this week, aged 6 to 70 years, came from Hubei province and are part of the same family, the deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, Tanarak Plipat, told reporters.
Three Japanese who returned from Wuhan, China, on a government-chartered flight on Wednesday have been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. Nine other people have shown symptoms of fever or coughing. Those with symptoms such as fever will be sent to the hospital on landing at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, while those with no signs of virus can go home and then to work or school, but will be advised to avoid crowds and take their temperatures twice a day.
Australia and New Zealand will work together to evacuate their isolated and vulnerable citizens from China. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday could not say how many or how soon citizens would be flown by Qantas from Hubei. The departures would be arranged in consultation with China. The citizens would be sent for 14 days to a quarantine center on Christmas Island. Seven cases have been reported from Australia. While four patients are in New South Wales, two in Victoria and one in Queensland.
Taiwan has reported eight cases of the infection. Taiwan has also tightened curbs on Chinese visitors to the island amid the coronavirus outbreak and said it will make sure people are not breaking a temporary ban on exporting face masks. Taiwan has stepped up inspections at airports, asking arrivals to fill out health declaration forms, and has formed a task force to ensure the island can properly deal with the virus.
Singapore has seen 10 cases of coronavirus.
Hospital workers in Hong Kong are trying to prepare for an outbreak of coronavirus cases — with memories of the SARS epidemic of the early 2000s still fresh. Ten cases have been reported.
South Korea, which has registered four cases till now, plans to send charter flights this week to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan. The country also said was going “all-out” to contain the outbreak and vowed to stabilise financial markets should volatility worsen.
Seven coronavirus cases have been reported from Malaysia.
France was the first European country to confirm cases of coronavirus. Four cases have been confirmed and another patient is under surveillance.
Vietnam has also reported two cases.
Canada, which has two confirmed cases of the virus and is investigating 23 potential cases, warned its citizens to avoid travel to Hubei.
Germany confirmed its first case of the virus. Officials said the man is being medically monitored and isolated. Persons who were in close contact with the man are being informed about possible symptoms and hygiene measures. It will evacuate 90 citizens living in China’s Wuhan region
Sri Lanka suspended its policy of granting visa on arrival for Chinese travellers after authorities detected the country’s first coronavirus infection. Some 65 Sri Lankan students in China returned by Monday. Another flight to evacuate students is due to leave on Tuesday. A total of 204 students have been evacuated in the last three days.
One case has been confirmed in Nepal
Cambodia confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the country. Cambodia, which has a large population of Chinese investors and workers, is on high alert
Four members of a Chinese family who arrived in the United Arab Emirates from the city of Wuhan have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, the first known cases in the Middle East, the UAE health ministry said. The family members are in a stable condition and under medical observation, the ministry said in a statement carried by the state news agency.
Spain’s government is working with China and the European Union to repatriate Spanish nationals from the Wuhan area. Britain is talking to international partners to find solutions to help British and other foreign nationals leave Wuhan
Russia has been in talks with China about evacuating its nationals from Wuhan and Hubei province. Authorities in Myanmar said they had cancelled a planned evacuation of 60 students from Mandalay who were studying in Wuhan. Kyaw Yin Myint, a spokesman for the Mandalay municipal government, told Reuters that a “final decision” had been made to send them back after 14 days, once the virus’ incubation period had passed
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