The world is fighting a new viral outbreak originating from the Chinese city Wuhan. It is identified as a new type: 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). At least 830 people have been affected, and 25 people had died as of today. The deadly pneumonia-like virus was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 and has been under investigation since. Originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province, it has since spread beyond the city. It has spread to other major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Macao.
Many cases of the virus have been confirmed in Vietnam, Japan, and Thailand. Moreover, the United States, Taiwan and Singapore have each reported one case. South Korea has also established two people who are infected by this virus.
Finance Ministry of China said it had allocated 1 billion yuan, i.e. $145 million to support Hubei province in its battle to restrain the outbreak. The city of Wuhan is also organising a new 1,000-bed hospital so that it can treat the infected.
WHO says coronavirus not yet global emergency
The World Health Organization (WHO), in a meeting, declared the new coronavirus as a public health emergency in China. However, they stated that the outbreak did not yet constitute an international concern.
WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a press conference, “Make no mistake, this is, though, an emergency in China. But, it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one”. He further added the organisation’s assessment is that “the outbreak is very high-risk in China, and high-risk regionally and globally.”
Chinese authorities have locked down at least ten cities in the central Chinese province to prevent a global pandemic of the coronavirus. The lockdowns encompass more than 20.5 million people. Authorities prevented transport links from Wuhan, and nearby cities of Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi and Zhejiang. They have also suspended buses, subways, ferries, and shut the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.
As the number of deaths and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus is increasing rapidly, people are facing a lot of problems. A doctor told BBC News that the “alarming” spread of the novel coronavirus has led to overwhelming numbers “flooding” to hospitals.
“The hospitals have been flooding with patients there are thousands, I haven’t seen so many before,” the doctor said. “I am scared because this is a new virus and the figures are alarming.”
What Is a Coronavirus?
Coronavirus causes infection in respiratory organs like nose, sinuses or upper throat. It infects both humans and animals. The viruses were first identified in the 1960s but nobody yet knows where they come from. However, it is possible that it has originated from animals.
Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do: through infected people coughing and sneezing.
The virus spreads by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched. But in early January 2020, the World Health Organization identified a new type: 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China
It is usually common throughout the world but the newer strains of the virus — such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) — “have been known to frequently cause severe illness.”
Moreover, Chinese authorities warned that the mysterious virus is mutating which means it could spread further and would be even harder to control over time.
Common Symptoms of Wuhan Coronavirus:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- difficulty breathing
- Gastro intestinal symptoms
In severe cases symptoms may be like:
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome
- Kidney failure
- Even Death
How to find out if one is infected by a coronavirus?
Go for a lab test which includes including nose and throat cultures and blood work, to find out whether coronavirus has caused cold.
The virus can cause pneumonia in older people, heart disease patients and people with weakened immune systems as coronavirus infection spread to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs).
How to prevent it?
No vaccines or antiviral drugs have currently been developed yet to prevent this family of viruses. Doctors treat the symptom thereby helping people fight this disease.
To help prevent a coronavirus infection, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold.
- Thoroughly wash your hand with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are infected.
Update as on 27th January 2020
Two more cases of the new virus have been confirmed as of Sunday night in the United States, bringing the total in the U.S. to five. The additional cases were found in California and Arizona. That number is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death toll from the virus has risen to at least 80, The New York Times reported. As of Sunday, the total number of confirmed case has reached more than 2,700, according to the Times. In addition to the cases reported in China and the U.S., reports of the infection have been confirmed in Australia, France and several countries in Asia. China has also temporarily banned the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants and online.
A doctor in Rajasthan pursuing MBBS in China recently traveled to India and hence suspected of Coronavirus. The patient is immediately put into isolation for further confirmation.
Further to combat the coronavirus there will now be an intensive screening of people along the Indo-Nepal border to deal with the menace of Novel Coronavirus. This decision has been taken after confirmation of coronavirus being found in Nepal.
The Union Health Ministry will make arrangements for screening on the Nepal border bordering Uttarakhand with immediate effect.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on this subject on Saturday.
Harsh Vardhan told the Chief Minister: “Arrangements are being made for screening people coming to India through Nepal border adjoining Uttarakhand. Apart from the screening, the Health Ministry will immediately provide all possible assistance to the state.”