Published: Fri, January 24, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

New China virus: United Kingdom 'to monitor arriving air travellers'

New China virus: United Kingdom 'to monitor arriving air travellers'

Wuhan authorities said the province has confirmed 444 cases, which would bring the national total to more than 500. Early on Wednesday, Chinese officials directly reported nine deaths out of 479 reported cases.

Most cases have been in Wuhan but the virus has also spread to other Chinese cities.

The WHO and the Chinese authorities are believed to be exploring the possibility that the source of the coronavirus may be a market in Wuhan where wildlife is traded illegally.

The most extreme opinions that have passed the censors include calls to isolate Wuhan from the rest of China, especially during the current Spring Festival season, when tens of millions of Chinese visit relatives, both at home and overseas.

The vice minister of the commission, Li Bin, told the news conference the recent jump in confirmed cases can be attributed to improved detection methods and a deeper understanding of the disease.

This comes after the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called an emergency meeting on Monday.

Amid official exhortations to stay calm, many Chinese were canceling trips, buying face masks, avoiding public places like cinemas and shopping centers, and even turning to an online plague simulation game or watching disaster movie "The Flu" as a way to cope.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control said it has developed a diagnostic test for the new coronavirus.

A price list circulating on China's internet for a business at the Wuhan market lists a menagerie of animals or animal-based products including live foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, rats, peacocks, porcupines, camel meat and other game - 112 items in all. Cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, the USA and Taiwan. "MOH has also reminded doctors and healthcare workers to be vigilant, and maintain strict infection control and prevention measures".

"We're going to see a lot more travellers, both nationally within China and internationally, so I think it's pretty safe to assume that this epidemic will be grumbling along, at least for the foreseeable future", Bogoch said. However, viruses can mutate into more risky and contagious forms, and it's too early to say what will happen with this one. The symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing and a fever and it can develop into a potentially fatal pneumonia.

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About 2,200 people in contact with infected people were in isolation.

Because the virus is new, there is not now a vaccine to treat the pathogen. Fifteen medics are among those infected in China. According to the CDC, in rare cases, animal coronaviruses "can evolve and infect people and then spread between people".

Given social media users' habit of not believing governments or their agencies, it's hardly surprising that some express doubts over official advice. "Because there's no cure for the virus", said Fu Ning, a 36-year-old woman in Beijing. A Beijing News editorial urging a better update system got more than 100,000 views on WeChat, the country's ubiquitous messaging platform.

"Not everyone from China, perhaps, but especially from the city of Wuhan", he explains. Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Apple supplier Foxconn, said he was advising employees not to visit China.

The world is on high alert following the arrival of a new disease in China. It also offered civets, the animal linked to SARS.

'Initially this is to ensure that when flights come in directly into Heathrow there is a separate area for people to arrive in'.

An airport staff member uses a temperature gun to check people leaving Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, China, Tuesday, 21 January 2020.

A first case emerged in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, media reported, with the patient arriving via high-speed railway from the mainland, and Mexico was investigating a potential case.

- North Korea banned foreign tourists to guard against the entry of the virus, tour operators said.

The CDC raised the travel notice to Wuhan from Level One to Level Two, and are recommending people traveling there take extra precautions.

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