The Wuhan coronavirus 2019, or better known as 2019-nCoV, that started on the 31st of December and continues swiftly through the new year is spreading. China confirmed 2700 cases as of today, with the death toll reaching 80 cases and less than 60 cases recovered. China has now entered an emergency state with most of the health resources directed towards the containment of the new virus including medical personnel of the People Liberation Army.
The World Health Organization has also allocated its resources towards the screening and early detection of cases at airports and especially in East and South-East Asia, although the WHO hasn’t yet released an absolute confirmation that the virus transmits by human-to-human contact, there are general recommendations to avoid any risk of being infected:
- If you are planning on a trip to China, it is better to wait for a while if it can be delayed especially around the area surrounding Wuhan, and to exercise extra caution and wear face masks during your presence at the airport.
- Try to postpone any shipment from China no matter the contents, since it is likely that the virus transmits by indirect contact, which means that if an infected person touched the parcel and then you touched it followed by rubbing your eyes, nose or eating, you may get infected, and it is virtually impossible to screen all shipments.
- Avoid eating any imported exotic food from East and South-East Asia especially diets containing snakes, fish, or any reptile.
- If you work at the airport or are already in an infected area, you can take the following precautions:
- Wear face masks all the time, try to limit the number of times you touch your nose or mouth and always cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughinh.
- Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before eating or touching your face, the virus can be killed easily by soap so there is no need for aggressive sanitizers on your hands as they can cause skin irritation.
- Avoid being in crowded places, and if you are in China for the celebration of the new lunar year, try to avoid any festivals for the time being. The Chinese government strongly advises not to attend any mass festivals until the virus is contained. The capital is no exception with over 70 cases confirmed in Beijing.
- The virus can spread to young infants and toddlers and may be more fatal. If you are going out, try not to take your children into crowded places and always make them wear face masks.
- If you feel any of the symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose or a general feeling of being unwell, contact the local health authority especially if you are located in an area known to harbor the virus.
As of today, severe travel restrictions have been imposed by the Chinese government to the following cities:
The virus has shown that its infective period starts during incubation, which means that infected people can infect others before showing symptoms. According to the CDC, 2-14 days may pass before infected individual show symptoms. All the cases that died by the virus died of severe pneumonia which kills by respiratory failure which suggests that the virus, like its siblings the SARS and MARS- spreads by droplet infection.