What's new in the China virus outbreak

Henrietta Strickland
January 24, 2020

The first USA case of the new coronavirus was confirmed Tuesday in the state of Washington.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there was an "increased likelihood" of cases of the new coronavirus occurring in the United Kingdom, but "we are well prepared" to deal with them. There have been cases reported by travelers from countries outside of China, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and the United States - and it sounds like authorities are extremely anxious this pneumonia-like virus can't be contained.

A similar lockdown has occurred in at least nine other Chinese cities, affecting about 33 million people.

In an effort to contain the virus, authorities expanded their travel lockdown in central China on Friday to include 12 cities near the center of the outbreak, affecting almost 35 million residents, The New York Times reports.

Chinese authorities are pulling out all the stops to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak - including canceling New Year celebrations in major cities.

Coronaviruses usually cause common-cold symptoms affecting the nose, sinuses or upper throat, and are spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact.

China has effectively quarantined almost 20 million people across Wuhan and some nearby cities in response to the virus, and announced measures to curb its spread nationwide as hundreds of millions of people began travelling across the country this week for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public-health officer, said Thursday that health-care workers across the country continue to be on guard for cases of the novel coronavirus, despite the World Health Organization saying it was not yet prepared to declare 2019-nCoV an worldwide public-health emergency.

Although the country as a whole maintains its Level 2 advisory (Exercise Increased Caution), the State Department issued a special warning for the Wuhan region and noted that it had evacuated all non-essential personnel from China, limiting its ability to aid USA citizens in Hubei province.

Many countries are screening travelers from China and isolating anyone with symptoms.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last. The measures have effectively quarantined 20 million people.

Hospitals, doctors and public-health officials across Canada are casting a wide net in their search for the SARS-like virus, which means they are sometimes testing specimens from patients who've returned from anywhere in China - not just Wuhan, the epicentre of an outbreak that has killed at least 25 and sickened more than 830 others. Authorities in turn have been keen to pledge transparency.

The state broadcaster CCTV's annual Spring Festival Gala program, which attracted more than 1 billion viewers previous year, paid tribute to the medical workers fighting the viral outbreak.

"Make no mistake, though, this is an emergency in China", he said.

"But we have also made important progress on epidemic preparedness". The museum said in a statement that it will notify the public when there is a resumption date.

But he said the numbers "weren't really the point".

Queensland's chief medical officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said two more people were being tested for potential infection in that state.

Japan confirmed its first infection with the pneumonia-causing virus earlier this month. "And they will recover".

"They can know within 24 hours if we do have a case", Donnelly said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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