Wuhan on Lockdown As 17 Dead, 571 Infected With Coronavirus

James Marshall
January 23, 2020

According to Wilfrid Laurier University professor and virologist Stephanie DeWitte-Orr, another factor that has made it hard for Canada and other countries to detect the virus is its long incubation period, which can range anywhere between one and two weeks.

The flight from Wuhan is expected to touch down at Sydney Airport today sometime after 11am.

"The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of worldwide concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence", Tedros said.

The sprawling capital of central China's Hubei province is the epicentre of the coronavirus which is thought to have started in animals before spreading to humans.

There is evidence of respiratory transmission of the virus from patient to patient, and Chinese authorities have also said that 15 medical staff in the country have been infected, which they claim indicates loopholes in treatment methods. Outbound flights and rail service from the city have been suspended, as well as travel by bus, subway and ferry. It cited the city's anti-virus task force as saying the measures were taken in an attempt to "effectively cut off the virus spread, resolutely curb the outbreak and guarantee the people's health and safety".

The illness comes from a new coronavirus that experts say may be spread through the respiratory tract and may be mutating.

On Thursday, China's National Health Commission released details of the 17 victims.

This afternoon NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said they are now investigating whether one patient had the virus but said there were no confirmed cases at this stage.

It's hard to imagine a bigger challenge for public health workers in China and, as cases spread, around the world.

One study, published Tuesday in the journal Science China Life Sciences, which is sponsored by Beijing's Chinese Academy of Sciences, looked at the relations between the new strain and other viruses.

No other cases have been reported in Washington, and nobody has been tested for the virus, Wiesman said.

Despite no other cases, Wiesman said he wouldn't be surprised if more people are sickened.

China's Disease Control and Prevention Centre director Gao Fu said the virus is believed to have originated at a market in Wuhan, from where it mutated and became transmissible from person to person.

"As an ordinary family, we don't know how to prevent this infection", he said.

The WHO has only used the rare label a handful of times, including during the H1N1 - or swine flu - pandemic of 2009 and the Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016.

In Thailand, officials have introduced mandatory thermal scans of passengers arriving at airports in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi from high-risk areas in China. Another important thing to keep in mind is that novel coronavirus in many ways resembles influenza, so people may not realize they have it.

Sydney is the only Australian city with direct flights to Wuhan.

One veteran of the SARS outbreak said that while there are some similarities in the new virus - namely its origins in China and the link to animals - the current outbreak appears much milder.

"It looks like it doesn't transmit through the air very easily and probably transmits through close contact", he said. Ontario's Chief Medical Officer has said hospitals are already employing protocols established during the SARS epidemic in anticipation of possible cases.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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