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Sunday, February 2, 2020


            A new coronavirus, designated 2019-nCoV, was identified in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, after people developed pneumonia without a clear cause and for which existing treatments were not effective. The virus has shown evidence of human-to-human transmission, with its transmission rate escalating in mid-January 2020 and several countries across Europe, North America and especially the Asia-Pacific reporting cases. Its incubation period is between 2 to 14 days, but there is evidence that it may still be contagious during this period and possibly for several days after recovery. Symptoms include fever, coughing and breathing difficulties, and it can be fatal.

   As of 2 February 2020, approximately 14,569 cases have been confirmed, including in every province-level division of China. The first confirmed death occurred on 9 January and since then 305 deaths have been confirmed. A larger number of people may have been infected, but not detected (especially mild cases). The first local transmission of the virus outside China occurred in Vietnam from a father to his son, whereas the first local transmission not involving family occurred in Germany, on 22 January, when a German man contracted the disease from a Chinese business visitor at a meeting near Munich. The first death outside China was reported in the Philippines, when a 44-year old man confirmed to have contracted the virus passed away on 1 February.

     In response, cities with a combined population over 57 million people, comprised of Wuhan and 15 others cities in the surrounding Hubei province, were placed on full or partial lockdown, involving the termination of all urban public transport and outward transport by train, air and long-distance buses. Many New Year events and tourist attractions have been closed to prevent mass gatherings, including the Forbidden City in Beijing and traditional temple fairs. Hong Kong also raised its infectious disease response level to the highest level and declared an emergency, closing its schools until March and cancelling its New Year celebrations.

    A number of countries have issued warnings against travel to Wuhan and Hubei province.Travelers who have visited Mainland China have been asked to monitor their health for at least two weeks and contact their healthcare provider to report any symptoms of the virus. Anyone who suspects that they are carrying the virus are advised to wear a protective mask and seek medical advice by ringing a doctor rather than directly visiting a clinic in person. The travel sector has been providing refunds and no-fee cancellations for reservations in China or by people from China. Airports and train stations have implemented temperature checks, health declarations and information signage in an attempt to identify carriers of the virus.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    Stay home when you are sick.
    Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have


There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.


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