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February 29, 2020

The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?

A woman shopped for New Year decorations in Shanghai ahead of the holiday. The escalation of the coronavirus coincides with Lunar New Year, China's biggest holiday. Major celebrations were canceled in several big Chinese cities, including Beijing and Wuhan. PHOTO: AFP
A woman shopped for New Year decorations in Shanghai ahead of the holiday. The escalation of the coronavirus coincides with Lunar New Year, China’s biggest holiday. Major celebrations were canceled in several big Chinese cities, including Beijing and Wuhan. PHOTO: AFP

Latest on the coronavirus outbreak: 2,070 cases confirmed in China, 56 dead

The pneumonia outbreak was first reported in Wuhan City, central China’s Hubei Province, in December 2019. Experts have attributed the outbreak to a novel coronavirus that has since spread across China and abroad.
Here is what we know so far:
– Confirmed cases: At least 2,070 in China, 37 abroad
– Deaths: 56
– Cured: 49
– Human-to-human transmission confirmed
– Health experts say the virus has the potential to mutate
– 30 cities and provinces have launched Level I emergency response, while Hong Kong declared its “highest” emergency response.
As of 10:00 p.m. on January 26, China has reported at least 2,070 confirmed cases and another 37 cases have been confirmed abroad. The death toll has risen to 56.
A total of 14 cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
But there is also hope. On on 26 January, at least 11 members of the medical staff in Wuhan City, who were confirmed infected, had tested negative for the virus.

‘2019-nCoV’ cures underway in China
The 2019-nCoV does not currently have an effective medicine treatment or vaccine, though efforts to develop them are underway.
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) announced on 26 January that it started research and development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. And the organization is also conducting drug screening for treatment.
China has mobilized seven groups of 900 medical staff to aid Hubei Province and will send 12 more teams with 1,600 medical personnel in two days to Wuhan City, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak, as part of the latest efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus, said officials at a press conference on 26 January.
Here are the places that have confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus:

France
There are three known cases of the coronavirus in France, the first European country to be affected by the outbreak.
One person is sick in Bordeaux and another is ill in Paris. A third person, who is a close relative of one of the other two, has also been confirmed to have the virus.
All three had recently travelled to China and had now been placed in isolation.

Japan
Japan’s health authorities confirmed a second case on Friday. Local media said the patient was a man in his 40s who was originally from Wuhan and on a trip to Japan.
The country’s first case was reported by the health ministry last week: a man who had visited Wuhan and was hospitalised on January 10, four days after his return to Japan.

Australia
Australia on Saturday confirmed its first case of the virus, a man who arrived in Melbourne from China a week ago.
Authorities said they were contacting people who had travelled on the same plane from China and offering advice.

Malaysia
Malaysia confirmed its first three cases on Saturday. All are Chinese nationals on holiday from Wuhan who arrived in the country from Singapore two days earlier.
A 66-year-old woman and two boys, aged two and 11, are in a stable condition and are being kept in an isolation ward at a public hospital, Malaysia’s health minister said.

Nepal
Nepal said a 32-year-old man arriving from Wuhan had the deadly disease.
The patient, who was initially quarantined, recovered and was discharged. The government said that surveillance has been increased at the airport “and suspicious patients entering Nepal are being monitored”.

Singapore
Singapore has announced at least three cases — a 66-year-old man and his 37-year-old son, who arrived in Singapore on Monday from Wuhan, and a 52-year-old Wuhan woman, who arrived in the city-state on Tuesday.

South Korea
South Korea confirmed its second case of the virus on Friday.
The health ministry said a South Korean man in his 50s started experiencing symptoms while working in Wuhan on Jan 10. He was tested after his return earlier this week, and the virus was confirmed.
The country reported its first case on January 20 — a 35-year-old woman who flew in from Wuhan.
Both remain in treatment and are in stable conditions.

Taiwan
Taiwan has uncovered three cases so far. It has since advised against travel to Wuhan and Hubei province and on Friday said any arrivals from Wuhan would be rejected by immigration.
All arrivals from the rest of China — including Hong Kong and Macau — must fill out health declaration forms on arrival.
It has also banned the export of face masks for a month to ensure domestic supplies.

Thailand
Thailand has detected five cases so far — four Chinese nationals from Wuhan and a 73-year-old Thai woman who came back from the Chinese city this month.
Two of the Chinese patients were treated, and have since recovered and travelled back to China, the Thai health ministry said this week.

United States
On 21 January US health officials announced the country’s first case, a man in his 30s living near Seattle. On 24 January a second case was announced — a woman in her 60s living in Chicago.
Both were treated and are recovering.

Vietnam
Vietnam confirmed two cases of the virus on 23 January. An infected man from Wuhan travelled to Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month and passed the virus on to his son.
Both are being treated in hospital and are stable, Vietnam health officials said.

Locals in Wuhan stocked up on vegetables and supplies. PHOTO:  AFP
Locals in Wuhan stocked up on vegetables and supplies. PHOTO: AFP

It’s entirely new
The virus appears to be a never-before-seen strain of coronavirus – a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003.
Arnaud Fontanet, head of the department of epidemiology at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, told AFP the current virus strain was 80 percent genetically identical to SARS.

It’s being passed between humans
The World Health Organization said it believed an animal source was the “primary source” of the outbreak, and Wuhan authorities identified a seafood market as the centre of the epidemic.

It is milder than SARS
Compared with SARS, the symptoms appear to be less aggressive, and experts say the death toll is still relatively low.
According to authorities in Wuhan, 25 of the more than 200 people infected in the city have already been discharged.
It could lead to an international public health emergency
The WHO held a meeting on 22 January to determine whether the outbreak constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern” and if so, what should be done to manage it.

REFERENCES
1. Here’s What Scientists Know So Far About The ‘Novel Coronavirus’ From China (HELEN ROXBURGH, AFP)
2. Latest on the coronavirus outbreak (CGTN)
3. The global spread of the coronavirus (AFP)

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