As of January 23, the number of cases in China affected by the coronavirus has increased to 616, with victims also reported in the US, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan.
In the Philippines, Chinese nationals arriving from Guangzhou, China are seen wearing face mask at the arrival area of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 Airport Terminal 1. The country is on high alert following the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus, which has affected China and infected and killing people describing places seen with sudden deaths related with coronavirus as ‘zombielands’.
The coronavirus which was reported to have originated in Wuhan province in China placed the Asian country in crisis and with its people subject for quarantine and are banned to enter in different countries. In the Philippines, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) suspends all flights to and from Wuhan, China following the city’s lockdown due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
The Department of Health in the Philippines is looking into a suspected case of novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV following the arrival last week of a five-year-old Chinese boy to learn English in Cebu City.
The boy was admitted in a Cebu City hospital after showing signs of fever, throat irritation and cough, which he reportedly had prior to entering the Philippines. He is from Wuhan province in China — the epicenter of the outbreak.
The spread of the deadly coronavirus could be down to soup made from bats as photos emerge of people in a Chinese city eating the delicacy. It is not yet clear how the virus has spread between humans and bats but scientists believe “there may be an unknown intermediate”.
Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus:
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more serious infections such as Mers-CoV and Sars-CoV. Common signs of coronavirus infection include:
- Respiratory symptoms
- Fever and Cough
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
The new coronavirus strain, which officials described as 80 percent similar to Sars-CoV, was reported in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019.
Initially, the said disease was thought to be transmitted through animal contact but recent reports show human-to-human transmission.
Officials have preciousky reported nine deaths and over 400 cases, which are expected to rise further as travel peaks during the Chinese New Year. Similar cases have also been reported in Beijing and Shenzhen Cities in China as well as in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.
DOH said it is also enhancing its coronavirus laboratory testing capacity, hospital preparedness, rapid response, and its risk communication and information dissemination.
It is also closely monitoring individuals who manifested signs of respiratory infection and had a history of travel to China and is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and China Center for Disease Control for updates.
DOH advises the public to:
- Practice frequent handwashing.
- Avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
- Practice proper cough etiquette – maintain distance and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with people showing cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Ensure that food is well-cooked.
Sources: Department of Health (Philippines), SunStar Philippines and updated number of Fatalities and Cases from INQUIRER.net, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Daily Star, and The Sun.co.uk.
Headline image: GETTY