China virus outbreak: Oman takes precautionary measures
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
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
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