Chinese officials have released advisories on recent spread of coronavirus that has been reported first in Wuhan city of Hubei and later in other provinces of China. China alerts the World Health Organisation about a spate of medical cases similar to pneumonia on 31st of December. Signs of virus are respiratory symptoms, cough, fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seafood and animals are believed to be the source of the outbreak and on 1st of January, seafood market was closed to avoid further spread.
World Health Organisation confirmed this as new strain of virus named “2019-nCoV” that led to first death of 11th of January when 41 cases were reported. People of Wuhan are advised to remain inside with minimum gatherings and don’t leave the city. A suspected case was reported in Thailand on 13th of January and Chinese authorities confirmed virus has been spread in other countries. Japan was the second to report on 16th of January. More than 60 years old man died in Wuhan of 17th of January and that second death alert doctors and authorities to take action.
Two days back on 20th of January, number increased to 200 and the outbreak spreads to Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing where Chinese authorities confirmed third death and its human-to-human transmission. The bulk are in China, but cases have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the US. Health workers in Wuhan hospital are also known to be infected as they came into contact with patient and numbered as 15. Officials also admitted that China is now at the “most critical stage” of prevention and control.
Seventeen people has been killed and more than 544 infected people are being reported so far, hundreds others unreported. Researchers and investigators are trying to understand the origin, transmission of virus and how far it has spread. Millions of people across China who are travelling within the country for the Lunar New Year week-long holiday and thousands are also travelling abroad and there are chances of more number of infected people. USA, Pakistan, UK, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russian have started screening of air passengers for signs of virus and have deployed medical teams on their busy airports.
Virus History (BBC)
31 December: China alerts the WHO about a spate of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan
1 January: The seafood/animal market believed to be at the centre of the outbreak is closed
9 January: WHO says the infection is caused by a new type of coronavirus
11 January: First death confirmed
13 January: Virus spreads abroad, with a suspected case in Thailand
16 January: A case in Japan is confirmed
17 January: Second death – a 69-year-old in Wuhan
20 January: Number of cases triples to more than 200, and outbreak spreads to Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai; third death confirmed; Chinese officials confirm human-to-human transmission
21 January: US authorities announce the first case in North America – a man who had visited Wuhan
22 January: Death toll climbs to nine, with more than 400 cases confirmed
Cases reported (various sources)
China: 544 confirmed cases
Thailand: 2 confirmed cases
Japan: 1 confirmed case
South Korea: 1 confirmed case
USA: 1 confirmed case
Hong Kong: 90 suspected cases
Taiwan: 4 suspected cases
Singapore: 3 suspected cases
Vietnam: 2 suspected cases
Australia: 1 suspected case
Nepal: 1 suspected case