(HEALTH) – The death toll from the new deadly novel coronavirus has now blasted past 106 people and the number of infected people is almost doubling on a day-to-day basis which is now over 4,600. This is up from 2,800 yesterday.
Governments across the planet are scrambling in an attempt to control the virus. Hong Kong is gearing up to seize cross-border travel with mainland China.
In an attempt to evaluate citizens of Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the outbreak, Japan is sending a plane to have a look.
Currently, the virus has spread across China and at least 16 countries worldwide.
China has placed two provinces in lockdown due to the outbreak, Wuhan and Hubei. They have strict transportation restrictions in and out of the area and wearing masks is now mandatory in many Chinese cities.
On Monday, the first death in Beijing was confirmed after a 50-year-old man died from the virus.
Hours after the death, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam announced that the high-speed rail line connecting the territory to the mainland of China would halt from Thursday. Flights, ferries and buses will also be substantially cut down in serious efforts to stop the virus’s spread to the city, which is a global financial centre.
There is currently no cure, treatment or vaccine for the coronavirus. The virus causes severe acute respiratory infection and causes death typically by the lungs not being able to operate by swelling up and/or pneumonia.
A large portion of the initial deaths were centred around the elderly and people with pre-existing respiratory issues. Those deaths mainly occurred in the Hubei province but since then, details have been few regarding the dozens of deaths in recent days.
Chinese state media says that about 60 people have been discharged from the hospital and recovered from the coronavirus.
What is China doing?
In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, China has cancelled it’s New Year festivities.
Other measures taken by Chinese authorities include:
- Shanghai and Bejing have a 14-day observation period for anyone arriving from Hubei.
- All schools across China have been suspended and there is no resume date as of yet.
- China Railway Group has halted hundreds of trains nationwide.
The city of Wuhan, which has 11 million people, has strong travel restrictions in place which stops non-essential vehicles from being on the roads. Their mayor says that around 5 million people left the city before the holidays and lockdown.
A number of major Chinese-cities have halted taxis, ride-hailing services and public transport. Disneyland in both Shanghai and Hong Kong have been closed.
How is it spreading?
The common belief is that the virus spawned out of an illegal wildlife and seafood market in Wuhan. It can now spread from human to human.
Over the weekend it was confirmed by health professionals that the virus can spread from human to human before any symptoms appear. This feature sets it apart from previous concerns like SARS and Ebola.
The World Health Organization has noted that the incubation period typically ranges from two to ten days.
There are currently 8 confirmed cases in Thailand. Five cases in the USA, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan each. Four cases in Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, each. Three cases in France. Two in Vietnam. And a single case in Nepal, Canada, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Germany, each, although Canada is expected to confirm their second case sometime today.
So far, there have been absolutely no deaths outside of China.
What is the novel coronavirus?
Typically, the virus will cause symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness such as a dry cough, fever, etc. Roughly after a week of being infected, some people will have serious shortness of breath and need to be hospitalized.
This strain of virus typically affects animals. It is a new, evolved version or “novel” coronavirus.
The virus’s effects on humans have long been observed by medical professionals mostly in the form of the common cold. More evolved and dangerous forms of the virus, such as MERS or SARS have proven that mutations can make the virus more fatal to humans.
At this point, it is believed most people will recover from the novel coronavirus, just like they would from the normal flu. One week is the average recovery time expected once symptoms are showing.