China virus out­break: Oman takes pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

The Min­istry of Health (MoH) has ini­ti­ated mea­sures to deal with sus­pected cases and in­crease aware­ness among trav­ellers from and to China due to the out­break of new coro­n­avirus (2019- nCOV).

‘The Min­istry of Health, rep­re­sented by the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Dis­ease Sur­veil­lance and Con­trol, is fol­low­ing up on the out­break of the new coro­n­avirus in Wuhan City in China,’ it stated on Mon­day.

The min­istry added that 198 cases world­wide, in­clud­ing two deaths, have been re­ported as of Jan­uary 20, 2020. ‘Four cases out­side China were re­ported, two cases in Thai­land, one in Ja­pan and one in Korea.’

The min­istry stated, ‘Fol­low­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of this out­break and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, we have un­der­taken pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures to ad­dress the sur­veil­lance, in­ves­ti­ga­tion of

sus­pected cases, and in­creas­ing aware­ness among trav­ellers from and to China.’

MoH stressed that peo­ple should seek in­for­ma­tion from of­fi­cial sources and com­mu­ni­cate with it through 24441999 in case of any en­quiry.

Bei­jing, China - A new SARS-like virus has killed a third per­son, spread around China and reached an­other Asian coun­try, authoritie­s said on Mon­day, fu­elling fears of a ma­jor out­break as mil­lions be­gin trav­el­ling for the Lu­nar New Year in hu­man­ity’s big­gest mi­gra­tion.

The new coro­n­avirus strain, first dis­cov­ered in the cen­tral Chi­nese city of Wuhan, has caused alarm be­cause of its con­nec­tion to Se­vere Acute Res­pi­ra­tory Syn­drome (SARS), which killed nearly 650 peo­ple across main­land China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Wuhan has 11mn in­hab­i­tants and serves as a trans­port hub, in­clud­ing dur­ing the an­nual Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day which be­gins this week and sees hun­dreds of mil­lions of Chi­nese peo­ple travel across the coun­try to visit fam­ily.

Weigh­ing in on the mat­ter for the first time, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said on Mon­day that safe­guard­ing peo­ple’s lives should be given ‘top pri­or­ity’ and that the spread of the epi­demic ‘should be res­o­lutely con­tained’, ac­cord­ing to state broad­caster CCTV.

Xi said it was nec­es­sary to ‘re­lease in­for­ma­tion on the epi­demic in a timely man­ner and deepen in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion’, and en­sure peo­ple have a ‘sta­ble and peace­ful Spring Fes­ti­val’, the broad­caster said.

The to­tal num­ber of peo­ple di­ag­nosed with the virus rose to

217 as 136 new cases were found over the week­end in Wuhan, 15 in south­ern Guang­dong prov­ince and five in Bei­jing, ac­cord­ing to CCTV.

A third per­son died in Wuhan, the lo­cal health com­mis­sion said.

South Korea on Mon­day re­ported its first case - a 35 year old woman who flew in from Wuhan. Thai­land and Ja­pan have pre­vi­ously con­firmed a to­tal of three cases - all of whom had vis­ited the Chi­nese city.

No hu­man-to-hu­man trans­mis­sion has been con­firmed so far, but authoritie­s have not ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity.

There are also seven sus­pected cases in Shang­hai and four prov­inces and re­gions in the east, south and south­west of the coun­try.

“Ex­perts be­lieve that the cur­rent epi­demic sit­u­a­tion can still be con­trolled,” the Na­tional Health Com­mis­sion said on Sun­day.

But the com­mis­sion ac­knowl­edged that the source of the coro­n­avirus and its mode of trans­mis­sion are not yet known.

The virus did not slow down the an­nual hol­i­day travel rush, though some trav­ellers wore masks at crowded rail­way sta­tions in Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

“Watch­ing the news, I do feel a lit­tle wor­ried. But I haven’t taken pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures beyond wear­ing reg­u­lar masks,” said Li Yang, a 28 year old ac­count man­ager who was head­ing home to the north­ern re­gion of In­ner Mon­go­lia for the Lu­nar New Year.

A seafood mar­ket is be­lieved to be the cen­tre of the out­break in Wuhan, but health of­fi­cials have re­ported that some pa­tients had no his­tory of con­tact with the fa­cil­ity.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) said on Twit­ter on Mon­day that ‘an an­i­mal source seems the most likely pri­mary source’ with ‘some limited hu­man-to-hu­man trans­mis­sion oc­cur­ring be­tween close con­tacts’.

It said the new cases in China were the re­sult of ‘ in­creased search­ing and test­ing for (the virus) among peo­ple sick with res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness’.

Sci­en­tists with the MRC Cen­tre for Global In­fec­tious Dis­ease Anal­y­sis at Im­pe­rial Col­lege in Lon­don warned in a pa­per pub­lished on Fri­day that the num­ber of cases in Wuhan was likely to be closer to 1,700, much higher than the of­fi­cial fig­ure.

Wuhan authoritie­s said they have in­stalled in­frared ther­mome­ters at air­ports, rail­way sta­tions and coach sta­tions across the city. Pas­sen­gers with fever were be­ing reg­is­tered, given masks and taken to med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions. State TV footage aired on Mon­day showed med­i­cal staff work­ing in­side an iso­la­tion ward at a Wuhan hos­pi­tal in full-body suits.

In Hong Kong, health of­fi­cials an­nounced they were ex­pand­ing their en­hanced checks on ar­rivals to in­clude any­one com­ing in from Hubei prov­ince, not just Wuhan, its cap­i­tal. More than 100 peo­ple are be­ing mon­i­tored in the city.

Pas­sen­gers are also be­ing screened at some air­ports in Thai­land and the United States.

Ex­perts be­lieve that the cur­rent epi­demic sit­u­a­tion can still be con­trolled

Na­tional Health Com­mis­sion

(AFP)

Se­cu­rity guards at the closed Hua­nan whole­sale seafood mar­ket, where authoritie­s say a man who died from a res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness had pur­chased goods from, in Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince, on Jan­uary 12

(AFP)

This file photo shows a woman walk­ing in front of the closed Hua­nan whole­sale seafood mar­ket, where health authoritie­s said a man who died from a res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness had pur­chased goods from, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince on Jan­uary 12

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