Asia - Pacific

'Chinese coronavirus may spread to more countries'

Timely intervention by Chinese authorities to help to control spread of new disease, says specialist

Zehra Nur Duz   | 22.01.2020
'Chinese coronavirus may spread to more countries'



Chinese coronavirus will possibly spread to more countries because there is a heavy footfall in China being the second largest economic hub of the world, according to an expert.

It is not yet clear how dangerous the outbreak is as "the mortality rate still remains unclear,” Jia-fong Lue, a specialist on infectious diseases at Taipei City Hospital, told Anadolu Agency.

“The rate may be not as high as SARS 2003, which was estimated to be 10%,” Lue said.

During an epidemic of SARS (ancestor of Corona) in 2003, more than 700 people -- mostly from the Asian continent -- lost their lives.

Lue stressed that the outbreak is very likely to be controlled as genetic sequence has been available and the virus was detected quite quickly and precisely.

He said the timely intervention by Chinese President Xi Jinping will also help to control the spread of the new disease.

Country's President Xi Jinping called Tuesday on health officials to prevent and control the disease as China is set to witness large passenger flows during the Spring Festival holiday.

“If the 2019-nCoV acts like SARS-CoV [2003], it can be controlled by body temperature monitor and screen,” he said.

He stressed that people should use surgical mask, do adequate hand-held washing, patients be given isolated treatment while health-workers be given adequate protection to prevent its spread.

Cause, symptoms, transmission of mysterious pneumonia

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Chinese authorities believe a new coronavirus from the family that produced SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) may be the cause of the mysterious pneumonia cases.

The virus causes high fever, cough and shortness of breath in the first stage, while in later stages it causes pneumonia, kidney failure and death.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the outbreak is “preventable and controllable.”

Chinese health officials already confirmed the human-to-human transmission of the fatal virus.

Meanwhile, a new discovery of Chinese investigators revealed that the virus was transmitted to humans through “wild animals”.

Some coronaviruses cause less-severe disease, some more severe. Some transmit easily from person to person, while others don’t, the WHO said.

The virus can cause severe illness in some patients and it does not transmit readily between people, it added.

Coronavirus raising alarm across globe

Newly-found Chinese coronavirus which causes pneumonia-like symptoms has jostled authorities in China as the death toll from contagious virus has risen to nine in its country of origin.

Health officials in China said nine fatalities were recorded in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, where the fatal virus originated last month.

A total of 440 people were confirmed infected inside the country, officials added.

The virus spread to major cities including the capital Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, besides other smaller towns where it found 166 such cases.

Officials in China have confirmed 291 cases of the virus found on the mainland. A total of 270 were found in the Hubei province, while 21 cases were confirmed in six other cities -- Beijing, Shanghai and four cities in southeastern Guangdong province.

An experts group led by Xu Jianguo, the director of National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, is investigating the cause of the disease.

The outbreak of the virus comes on the eve of China’s New Year celebrations slate for Jan. 25 when millions of people will return to their native towns to spend time with their families.

The provincial authorities in Wuhan have canceled the Lunar year celebrations and tour groups have been banned from taking out groups from Wuhan.

Travelers from China are being screened at several airports across Southeast Asia in the wake of a deadly viral outbreak which originated in the country.

Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the U.S. have confirmed to have found cases of the same virus in their respective countries. Australia is also examining a person for the same virus.

North Korea has temporarily shut down its borders with China as a precaution after the outbreak of a new type of pneumonia-like illness in China, local news agency Yonhap reported Wednesday.

With the coronavirus raising alarm across the globe, the WHO will hold an emergency meeting in Geneva on Wednesday.

Origins, spread of Chinese coronavirus

Dec. 12, 2019

The first case, which has caused alarm in China for weeks, was diagnosed.

Jan. 11, 2020

Chinese authorities confirmed the first death from the new virus.

A total of 739 close contacts, 419 of which are medical staff, have been placed under medical observation and no related cases were found, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said.

Jan. 13

Thailand reported first overseas case of new virus as Taiwan declares virus a communicable disease.

Jan. 14

Vietnam's Health Ministry also put two Chinese visitors from Wuhan city in isolation and kept them under observation for the new coronavirus after landing at Danang International Airport.

Jan. 15

The newly-discovered virus has claimed a second life in less than a month since it emerged.

Jan. 16

Japan announced that the first case of a new coronavirus had been found in the country, becoming the second nation to report such a case outside of China where the virus was recently discovered.

Jan. 19

China confirmed 17 new cases of the recently-discovered virus, taking the total number of infected people to 62 in the country, and of those, two people died, eight in serious condition and 19 were discharged.

Health officials in China's Wuhan province said, 681 of 763 people known to have been in close contact with infected people have been tested for the virus but none of them were found infected with the virus.

Jan. 20

China reported a third death from a newly discovered virus while confirming 136 new cases.

Health authorities in Wuhan province reported that a patient had died and said 59 new cases had been confirmed on Jan. 18 and 77 on Jan. 19, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 198.

This was the first time health authorities reported three cases outside Wuhan.

According to China’s National Health Commission, two cases were reported in the capital Beijing and one in Shenzhen in southeastern China, bordering Hong Kong.

South Korea confirmed the first case linked with the newly discovered virus in China.

This has raised concerns that the coronavirus which causes pneumonia-like symptoms is set to spread across Asia. 

Jan. 21

The WHO has called for an emergency meeting to be held on Wednesday on the outbreak of coronavirus in China after the health authorities in Wuhan confirmed that the fourth person died of pneumonia.

The first case of Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. was reported in Washington state, according to U.S. media reports.

Jan. 22

The coronavirus is not of any particular risk to Turkey, the country's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Turkish authorities will quarantine infected patients from China should they arrive in Turkey, Koca added.

The Health Ministry will hold a risk assessment meeting on the virus later on Wednesday, he noted.

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