Coronavirus has sent jitters to Asia and the rest of the world killing at least132 people and almost 6,000 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, as the Wuhan Coronavirus spreads across like wildfire.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections which are typically mild including the common cold but rarer forms like SARS and MERS can be lethal.
The first suspected cases of the virus were reported at the end of last year on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan, but it has since been confirmed in other parts of China.
Already, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has warned Nigeria and other member countries to be ready to deal with a possible outbreak of the disease in their territories.
In a statement on Sunday, Tarik Jasarevic, WHO’s spokesman, said nearly 2,000 cases of patients have been confirmed since the disease originated in China last month.
Also, nearly 60 million people are under partial or full lockdowns in Chinese cities and there are more than 70 confirmed cases in 17 places outside of China, including at least five in the US.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its travel precautions for China to its highest level and several countries, including the US and Japan, are evacuating citizens from Wuhan.
The number of infected persons has surpassed the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.
A chartered plane carrying more than 200 Americans from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, landed in Anchorage shortly after 9:20 p.m. local time on Tuesday, according to flight-tracking services.
The 240 passengers, including diplomats and businesspeople, were to undergo medical screening at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the local authorities said. The plane was also to be refueled before flying to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, Calif., its final destination.
Jim Szczesniak, the airport manager, said that the aircraft would be “handled in a remote location” and that medical staff from the United States Centers for Disease Control would check patients in an isolated area. Passengers would remain in a terminal that is not currently being used by commercial carriers or accessible to the public.
“The passengers will be screened and go through the immigration process,” Mr. Szczesniak said. “They will reboard their flight and head to their final destination.”
However, any passengers found to have a cough, fever or shortness of breath in Anchorage will be further assessed by medical experts, according to a statement released by Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services. If the medical team determines that special care is necessary, it will refer those passengers to a nearby hospital.
Other countries that have evacuated or plan to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan include France, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Germany, Kazakhstan, Britain, Canada, Russia, the Netherlands, Myanmar and Australia.
Thailand has reported 14 cases of infection; Hong Kong has eight; the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five each; Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; Japan has seven; France has four; Canada has three; Vietnam has two; and Nepal, Cambodia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates each have one.
Cases recorded in Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam and Japan involved patients who had not been to China. There have been no reported deaths outside China.
(New York Times)