THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Coronavirus was first noted in Wuhan City in China. The World Health Organization says, “On 31 December 2019, WHO was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. The virus did not match any other known virus. This raised concern because when a virus is new, we do not know how it affects people.
“One week later, on 7 January, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a new virus. The new virus is a coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. This new virus was temporarily named “2019-nCoV.
The WHO has been working with Chinese authorities and global experts from the day we were informed, to learn more about the virus, how it affects the people who are sick with it, how they can be treated, and what countries can do to respond.
Wuhan City in China has taken some major steps to attempt to halt the spread of this virus. Travel restrictions are in place, the airport and transit have been closed.
The city of 11 million people according to reports in Chinese media was going to shut down outbound flights and trains on Thursday. Wuhan City has been battling the spread of Coronavirus which has sickened hundreds of people and killed 17 people so far.
How to protect yourself from getting infected
WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough;
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
WHO Director-General’s statement on IHR Emergency Committee on Novel Coronavirus
As you know, this is an evolving and complex situation.
I’d like to thank Dr Houssin for his leadership of the Emergency Committee, and all the members of the committee, the advisors, and those who made presentations earlier today.
I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation.
I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.
There was an excellent discussion during the committee today, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information.
For that reason, I have decided to ask the Emergency Committee to meet again tomorrow to continue their discussion, and the Chair, Dr Houssin, has agreed with that request.
The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence.
Our team in China working with local experts and officials to investigate the outbreak.
We will have much more to say tomorrow.
Sources: The World Health Organization.