The new virus discovered in China, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to
be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in
Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses, but only six (the new one would
make it seven) are known to infect people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people to avoid
“unprotected” contact with live animals, thoroughly cook meat and
eggs, and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath
and breathing difficulties.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging
from the common cold to more severe disease. It’s not yet clear how bad this
new coronavirus is.
If a patient has recovered from the infection, they should not pose a
significant risk to others and can be sent home from hospital provided they are
The first human cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in
There have not been any other suspected human cases reported prior to this.
Given the type of virus, the incubation period (how long it takes for
symptoms to appear after catching the infection) is days, rather than weeks.
It is not yet known how or when the virus became infectious to people.
Experts believe the first cases were transmitted by an animal.
At the moment, there is no vaccine that can protect people against this type
of coronavirus, but researchers are looking to develop one.
It is a new strain that hasn’t been seen in humans before, which means
doctors still have lots to learn about it.
Based on currently available information, the WHO has not recommended any
restrictions on travel or trade.
You should re-check the latest travel advice before you depart.
Extra airport checks such as temperature scans have been put in place to screen
some travelers in some countries/states.
Airports in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo have been screening air
passengers from Wuhan and US authorities last week announced similar measures
at three major airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
It is not yet known how the virus
was transmitted. Other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, came from cats and
Experts are working to find the
Standard recommendations to prevent
infection apply. These include:
regular hand washing
covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
thoroughly cooking meat and eggs
Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
The first case of the new coronavirus on the US
territory has been confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control said.
According to the CDC, the virus, which originated in China, had been
diagnosed in a traveler who arrived in Seattle from China.
The new virus, which spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected almost 300 people, and six have died.
The virus, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.
According to a tour operator, North Korea has temporarily closed its borders
to foreign tourists in response to the threat.
The patient diagnosed in the US returned from Wuhan on January 15, the CDC
It added in a statement: “The
patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the
patient was treated for the illness.
“Based on the patient’s travel
history and symptoms, healthcare professionals suspected this new
Laboratory testing of a clinical specimen confirmed the diagnosis on January
20, the CDC statement continued.
The announcement that North Korea was barring entry to foreign tourists came
from Young Pioneer Tours, which is based in China and specializes in travel to
Young Pioneer Tours said in a statement that North Korea was implementing a
temporary ban as a precaution.
It said: “Further details are yet
to be confirmed by our travel partners in North Korea and we will continue to
make all future announcements on our website.”
Another tour group that travels to North Korea, Koryo Tours, also tweeted
about “possible limits to tourist entry”.
Some experts have previously warned
that international sanctions on North Korea had hit the country’s healthcare
system, by restricting the delivery of aid and medical equipment.
On January 20, Chinese officials
confirmed for the first time that the virus could pass from person to person.
At the same time Chinese state media
said six people had died from the infection, which causes a type of pneumonia.
A total of 291 cases have now been
reported across major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. However,
most are in Wuhan, the central city of 11 million people at the heart of the
The disease was first identified
there late last year, and the outbreak is believed to be linked to a seafood
market that also sells live animals.
Aside from the US, two cases have
been identified in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in
Taiwan. All those infected had recently returned from Wuhan.
Authorities in several countries, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong,
Taiwan and Japan have stepped up screening of air passengers from Wuhan.
Last week, US authorities announced similar measures at airports in San
Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
In Australia, a man who had travelled to Wuhan has been placed in isolation
and is undergoing tests. China is the largest source of tourists to Australia,
with more than a million Chinese citizens visiting last year.
However, the measures being put in place by North Korea are the strictest so
A report by the Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial
College, London, suggested there could be more than 1,700 infections.
However, Gabriel Leung, the dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, put the figure closer to 1,300.
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