An Insight to the Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak
With the start of the new year, Wuhan which is the capital city of China’s central Hubei province announced the outbreak of a cluster of severe pneumonia. The city has a population of 11 million.
What is Pneumonia?
For those who do not know what Pneumonia is, it is a respiratory illness caused by a virus which causes one or both lungs to be infected. Inflammation sets in and numerous air sacs within the lungs get filled with pus and water. Those who contract the virus experience shortness of breath, cough, and fever.
How did the news come about the coronavirus outbreak?
It seemed that the hospitals in Wuhan were receiving similar pneumonia-like cases which prompted Chinese authorities to alert the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 31st December 2019.
Where did the Wuhan coronavirus originate from?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe the new coronavirus originated from illegally traded wildlife at a large animal and seafood market in Wuhan, China. Some experts claim the virus could have originated from bats. How this virus jumped to humans is still unknown. The market has been disinfected and was shut down on 1 Jan 2020.
How bad is the Wuhan virus?
Within 2 weeks of the virus outbreak, 17 people in China had died. The first person died on 11 Jan and the number of people getting infected with the virus and the death toll is increasing day by day. The virus has spread to other countries across the globe.
How did the virus spread to other countries?
Jan 13, the virus spreads beyond China’s borders with the first case emerging in Thailand.
People who visited Wuhan, not knowing they were infected with the virus during their stay, returned back to their countries. They develop symptoms after a few days and the virus subsequently passes on to their family members.
So far which countries have the virus spread?
The virus has spread to several countries across the globe. They are Canada, the US, France, Germany, Finland, China, Nepal, UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Precautions are taken up by certain countries
People in Singapore are snapping up masks, thermometers and hand sanitizers at pharmacies to keep away from the virus. The government in Singapore is also distributing free masks to every household as some of the shops have run out of masks.
Singapore also has barred entry and transit for new visitors who have traveled to Hubei in the last 14 days as well as holders of Chinese passports issued in Hubei.
It has also suspended issuing new visas for holders of Chinese passports issued in Hubei, as well as previously issued short-term and multiple visit visas. Similar measures have been implemented by Malaysia, Mongolia, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Mongolia has closed its borders to cars and has temporarily shut schools and suspended public events.
Many countries have urged their citizens not to visit China and various airlines have halted their flight service to China in order to stem the spread of the disease.
Has a vaccine been developed for this deadly virus?
Countries around the world like the United States and Russia are working around the clock to combat the virus by trying to develop a vaccine. The process though could take several months.
Scientists in Australia claim that they have successfully created a lab-grown version of the Wuhan coronavirus. This could help combat the global spread of illness by making use of the virus sample to generate an antibody test and allowing detection of the virus in patients who had not shown symptoms and create a vaccine.
How bad is the situation in Wuhan?
In order to quarantine the city, Wuhan has been locked down. There are food shortages, public transport service has halted, and hospitals are experiencing an overwhelming number of patients. The situation is so intense up to a point where medical workers are forced to wear adult diapers under their hazmat suit as they do not have time to go to the washrooms in between the treatment of the coronavirus patients. China is sending military doctors and medicals workers from other provinces to assist local doctors and nurses with a staggering number of patients.
Are countries airlifting their citizens trapped in Wuhan?
Countries around the globe are working hard to remove their citizens trapped in the city ever since it was sealed off. There are some waiting to be airlifted from Wuhan while they remain locked in their homes surviving on biscuits and living in fear.
Japan, the United States, Britain, and France have organized airlifts from Wuhan for their citizens after getting the necessary clearance from Beijing. The citizens upon reaching their countries are scanned for the coronavirus.
How can we protect ourselves from contracting the coronavirus?
There is currently no vaccine against the virus, so it is important to practice standard hygiene such as:
1. Washing hands regularly
2. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing or use a face mask to protect yourself and others
3. Cook meat and eggs thoroughly before consumption
4. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness such as coughing or fever.