What to know about the viral outbreak in China — Science Says

What to know about the viral outbreak in China — Science Says

What to know about the viral outbreak in China — Science Says

They have discouraged public gatherings in Hubei province.

The official China Daily newspaper said 544 cases had now been confirmed in the country.

Initially, cases presented as pneumonia of unknown etiology, but by January 7 2020, the Chinese authorities had confirmed a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as the causative agent. Officials believe the origin to be a market where wildlife is traded illegally.

Chinese officials also advised people not to travel into or out of Wuhan, the city where the outbreak originated, the BBC reported.

China's health vice-minister Li Bin told reporters: "The rise in the mobility of the public has objectively increased the risk of the epidemic spreading and the difficulty of prevention and control".

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is expected to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in response to the virus, which appears to have originated in the city of Wuhan, in eastern China.

"It's one person coming in from China", Trump said in Davos, Switzerland, during an appearance on CNBC.

Experts worry in particular when health workers are sickened in outbreaks by new viruses, because it can suggest the disease is becoming more transmissible and because spread in hospitals can often amplify the epidemic.

Cases of the virus have already been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand and Hong Kong, while one man in Brisbane was briefly placed in isolation after returning from Wuhan with flu-like symptoms, but subsequently released.

"And this is certainly not a moment for panic or high anxiety, it is a moment for vigilance and we are pleased to report that we have a very comprehensive approach that is acting very quickly to respond to this to identify the potential folks who may be subject to transmission", said the governor.

Symptoms include cough, fever and sore throat.

Because the virus is new, there is not now a vaccine to treat the pathogen. Fifteen medics are among those infected in China.

Dr. David Heymann, who headed WHO's global response to SARS in 2003, said the new virus appears risky for older people with other health conditions, but doesn't seem almost as infectious as SARS. "I believe the government for sure, but I still feel fearful".

"As an adult, I am not too anxious about the disease", Yang Bin, the father of a 7-year-old, said after buying a mask. "You have to rely on your immunity if you get an infection. It sounds very scary".

SARS caused an estimated global economic loss of $40 billion, according to one study.

The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) reports that more than seven million of those trips will include worldwide travel. Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Apple supplier Foxconn, said he was advising employees not to visit China.

Contrasting with its secrecy over the 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed almost 800 people, China's communist government has this time given regular updates to try to avoid panic as millions travel for the Lunar New Year.

With the annual Lunar New Year/Spring Festival travel rush now underway, officials are battling to isolate those infected and prevent the disease from spreading further. Other coronaviruses circulate among animals including camels, cats and bats.

Airports round the world have stepped up screening of people from China, and some flights to the affected area have been canceled.

The Chinese-ruled gambling hub of Macau confirmed its first case of pneumonia linked to the coronavirus and tightened body-temperature screening measures in casinos and round the city.

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus reported in Singapore, however the government isn't taking any chances.

Travel agencies that organize trips to North Korea said the country has banned foreign tourists because of the outbreak.

But if the World Health Organization decides to take this step, it would put the Wuhan virus in the same category as a handful of very serious epidemics. The first case outside China was reported in the USA's Washington on Tuesday.

And state broadcaster CCTV has been showing footage of doctors in quarantine gear in Wuhan.

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